This year’s Manx Telecom Parish Walk will play an important role in encouraging more young people to take up exercise and get fit, and may even see a future winner take their first steps in the event. When the race begins at 8am on Saturday June 21 there will be a new category for teams of three walkers aged 18 to 21 competing to be the fastest to cover the 32.5 miles to Peel. The winners will be the trio with the best combined time of all three walkers, with separate prizes of trophies and smartphones provided by the event sponsor for each member of the winning men’s and women’s teams. News about the prizes was announced at the official launch of the walk held at Manx Telecom’s headquarters at Isle of Man Business Park on Tuesday (March 11). Gianni Epifani, Senior Sport Development Officer at Manx Sport and Recreation (MSR), said the new trophies would give a great incentive for teenagers to start walking to get fit. He added:
“At MSR we already have initiatives in place to encourage more young people aged 14 to 24 to take more exercise, so the added incentive for 18 to 21-year-olds to take part in the Manx Telecom Parish Walk is something we welcome. It can be difficult to encourage some teenagers to get into the habit of taking regular exercise and gain the health benefits that this brings, so the team trophies and smartphones for younger walkers are a great idea for motivating this age group. Who knows, it may inspire someone to take part for the first time, go on to complete the full 85-mile distance in years to come, and maybe even win the event one day. But the most important thing is that everyone who is inspired to take part in the Manx Telecom Parish Walk will be taking the first steps towards discovering how regular exercise can significantly improve their health.”
The launch event also saw the official signing of a three year extension to Manx Telecom’s contract as title sponsor. Mike Dee, Manx Telecom CEO, said:
“2014 will complete our initial three year commitment to the event, and we are very pleased and proud that we will be extending our role as title sponsor until 2017. Every year the Manx Telecom Parish Walk is a shining example of the Island’s tremendous community spirit and enthusiasm for sport and we are delighted to continue our support and look forward to finding ways to help the magnificent organising team to add new dimensions to the event. The new awards for young walkers are one example, but we are also adding new features to the timing website to make it even easier for friends and families of participants to follow the event wherever they happen to be.”
The timing website this year – www.mt.im/parishwalk – will show the main leaderboard for the elite walkers, and allow visitors to track the progress of up to ten friends. In addition, it will show leaderboards for all of the team races. The site is also easily accessible on the main www.parishwalk.com website. As well as the 18 to 21 category this year’s event will again feature a Corporate Challenge for teams of four who must all be bona fide employees of the same company, with no team having more than one member who has previously completed the full 85-mile Parish Walk. There is also an overall team competition with the rule that no more than two of the four team members have previously finished the full Parish Walk course. All participants – including those for all of the team categories – must enter individually. To enter the team events, entrants simply put the name of their team or Corporate Challenge team on the online entry form. The 2014 Manx Telecom Parish Walk takes place on Saturday June 21 and entries close on May 11. Entry costs £30 which includes a commemorative Manx Telecom Parish Walk technical tee-shirt and goodie bag. All entries must be made at www.parishwalk.com
The 2014 race will be the 101st Parish Walk in its current format, and the 20th Parish Walk overseen by Ray Cox as Race Director.