Thursday, 19 June 2008

Girls On Top

I didn't ever get around to finishing my life story in athletics but I'm sure that the world won't stop turning and that you'll be able to munch on your pre-race breakfast Saturday without worrying that you've missed out on some vital piece of information.

Who do you think is going to win?

Sue Biggart will walk off as the outstanding favourite in my opinion, as she has gone much quicker in the past than any of the other leading ladies and there is no reason despite her dancing exploits(she recently competed in the Manx Celebrity Come Dancing)o assume that she has not prepared as thoroughly as usual.

There are a couple of dark horses in the race who have the talent to displace Sue but will they have the experience and determination? There is Janice Quirk who was the first woman in the End to End and who had a splendid debut finish in last year's event with a superb 19.01 but the one lady in my opinion who is in with a real chance and she won't thank me for shouting it form the rooftops is Marie Jackson.

Marie finished in 2000 in just over 20 hours I think but at that time she was yet to develop the style that has made her the most consistant manx racewalker at most distances(don't mention 5k to her) over the last five years or so. She won the 'End to End' on the old east course and last year won silver (individiual) and gold(team) medals in the World Masters 20k. Before that I wouldn't have given her much hope in the Parish Walk but such achievement really bolstered her confidence and she went on to win the National 50k title in april this year.

Most eagerly anticipated sporting battles contain a contrast between the athletes involved and this is no exception. Sue is strong and very Parish Walk orientated with seven previous finishes in as many years and apart from last year each one quicker than the previous. Although very much a one event specialist, she also came home second lady in the National 100 miles held at N.S.C. in 2006 (lapping me at least once in the process.) Marie by comparison though slight in stature is very steely but the other major difference, despite Sue trying very hard to improve over the winter is that Marie posesses an excellent racewalking technique and therefore should move much more economically.

What I have written above is possibly a little disrespectful to Jane Mooney and Alison Brand(did I hear that Ali isn't aiming for a finish this year?) who both put in brilliant performances last year to post 17:26 and 17:31 and should any of the above three not quite realise my expectations, then there's no doubt they'll be right in there.

Roey Crellin, still fastest Manx born woman(17:12) was not quite up to her best in 2007 but if she shows her true ability may just feature, as may Marie Gilbertson or Terri Salmon.

As I remarked at the outset, Sue Biggart is in pole position but this could be the best ever race.

As usual as I say on these previews, if I've missed you off or undersold you, I apologise but just go out there and prove me wrong.

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