Easter weekend saw Hare & Hounds past and present head overseas to the annual Isle of Man Festival. Most of the team touched land in Douglas on Thursday evening, just in time for a few to taste the local nightlife and enjoy a brief run-in with a police officer. The first race of the weekend was to be an undulating 10k road race in Port Erin on Good Friday which set the tone for what was to be an outstanding weekend of running for the club. Alex Short lead the way, winning the race with a time of 31:14, ahead of ex-captains Matt Leach (31:27) and Will Mackay (31:34) in 3rd and 4th respectively. The women’s teams also ran well with Polly Keen finishing 3rd (37:36) and Holly Page 5th (38:36).
The next day presented an arguably tougher challenge in the form of the gruelling hill races. The men went off first, and again were lead home by Short, completing the course in 20:41, four seconds ahead of Leach in 2nd place. Sam Ashcroft ran strongly to finish 5th, and mention must also be due to Andrew O’Donnghaile who came back from injury in his only race of the weekend to finish 19th. A tense finish in the women’s competition went down to the closing stages when Holly Page was squeezed out of first place, with Polly Keen and Megan Wilson the next home in 3rd and 9th. But none of this drama quite compared to the sight of a mankini-clad Will Bowers retreating to the start line in desperate search of adequate clothing after failing to keep everything in order in the opening stages of the race.
The post-race entertainment came in the form of an 11-mile pub crawl back to Douglas, a true test of stamina for legs, lungs and liver. No results to report here as such, but strong performances from Will Mackay and Will Bowers at least ensured that many of the Manchester Alehouse runners were sufficiently hampered for the frivolities the next day.
The Easter Sunday 5k was to be the final effort for the weekend on the running front, and it saw both men’s and women’s teams seal victory in both competitions. Credit is due to Matt Leach for ensuring victory in the final leg of the men’s race and clocking the fastest time of the day (15:19), while Katy Hedgethorne capped off a fine weekend by finishing in 19:45, enough to grant her Animal of the Week status and a top ten finish overall.
A disappointing performance in the beer races from the A team wasn’t enough to put a dampener on what was otherwise an excellent weekend of running. Individual victory for Alex Short and a second place for Matt Leach alongside an overall victory of the first team and a strong 8th place for the Bs proved excellent results for the men (who even managed to field a D Team), and victory in all three races for the women eased them home to the title. So until next year, when the ship will set sail to Douglas once more.