The Manx Telecom Parish Walk (previously known as the Clerical Medical Parish Walk until 2009, then Scottish Widows Parish walk up to 2011) is a walking race that takes place on the Isle of Man each year usually on the weekend nearest to the Northern Summer solstice. It is the biggest walking event in the Isle of Man.
The Parish Walk is so called because the walk passes through every parish on the Isle of Man, a total distance of 85 miles (137 km). Originally, walkers had to touch the door of each of the seventeen parish churches, but nowadays electronic timing chips are worn. A time limit of 24 hours is given, and there are cut-off times for reaching each stage.
Only a small proportion of walkers are expected to complete the full distance each year. Walkers may drop out at any of the stages, which correspond to each parish, with an official time and distance.
The challenge was seeded by a Manx Sun newspaper article in 1852 entitled "A summer's day Journey" recording a journey taken by the then Coroner, John Cannel, who covered 90 miles in 15 hours on horseback. The following year he followed a similar route, only this time on foot, visiting each of the Island's 17 parishes.
It was not until 1913 that the event took its current form when the Parish Walking Match was organised by the Isle of Man Times and the Manx Sporting Club. Although the outbreak of war prevented a repeat of the event the following year, it was revived in 1923.
It is believed that the Parish Walk may be the largest annual fundraising event in the Isle of Man. However, as each participant is left to raise money themselves and for a charity of their own choice, no figures have ever been compiled.
The Parish Walk starts at 8am at the NSC in Douglas. Starting from the start line of the athletics track, competitors must complete 1 lap of the 400m track before leaving through the Marathon gates. They then proceed down the TT Access Road before doubling back to the first of the Parish Churches (Braddan). The churches are then visited in the following order;
- Braddan Church (2 miles)
- Marown Church (4.5 miles)
- Santon Church (11 miles)
- Malew Church (15 miles)
- Arbory Church (17 miles)
- Rushen Church (19 miles)
- Patrick Church (30.5 miles)
- St German's Church, Peel (32.5 miles)
- Kirk Michael Church (39 miles)
- Ballaugh Church (42 miles)
- Jurby Church (45 miles)
- Bride Church (52.5 miles)
- Andreas Church (55.5 miles)
- Lezayre Church (61.5 miles)
- Maughold Church (67 miles)
- Lonan Church (78.5 miles)
- Onchan Church (83 miles)
- Finish, Douglas (85 miles)
The finishing line is on Douglas promenade by the War Memorial at the bottom of Broadway.
|Year||Men's Winner||Time||Women's Winner||Time||Overall Position|
|1995||Brian Ashwell||16:37:47||Jill Green||20:29:08||7th|
|1996||Lee Cain||17:26:29||Winnie Callister||22:59:02||17th|
|1997||Chris Flint||17:36:40||Jill Green||18:39:57||4th|
|1998||Richard Brown||15:59:44||Sandra Brown||16:16:36||2nd|
|1999||Chris Flint||17:07:46||Karen Marie Brogger||17:48:40||2nd|
|2000||Peter Kaneen||16:59:54||Karen Marie Brogger||18:04:35||4th|
|2001||Robbie Callister||16:59:27||Rosemarie Crellin||20:04:54||15th|
|2002||Robbie Callister||16:34:30||Rosemarie Crellin||18:34:07||5th|
|2003||Peter Kaneen||15:26:07||Rosemarie Crellin||17:12:19||4th|
|2004||Robbie Callister||15:26:31||Sue Biggart||16:48:32||3rd|
|2005||Robbie Callister||15:24:24||Sue Biggart||16:53:54||3rd|
|2006||Sean Hands||14:47:36||Sue Biggart||16:23:14||4th|
|2007||Robbie Callister||15:36:47||Sue Biggart||16:49:46||7th|
|2008||Jock Waddington||15:44:43||Sue Biggart||16:42:09||5th|
|2009||Jock Waddington||15:45:56||Janice Quirk||15:58:35||2nd|
|2010||Jock Waddington||15:18:06||Susan Moore||17:44:13||12th|
|2011||Jock Waddington||15:01:48||Maureen Moffatt||18:19:21||16th|
|2012||Richard Gerrard & Vinney Lynch||14:42:32||Sue Biggart||17:03:53||8th|
|2013||Michael George||14:44:49||Janice Quirk||16:16:39||6th|
|2014||Richard Gerrard||15:15:20||Janette Morgan||16:48:14||6th|
|2015||Richard Gerrard||14:40:08||Janette Morgan||16:38:14||9th|
|2016||Richard Gerrard||15:31:43||Karen Chiarello||16:00:03||3rd|
Clerical Medical sponsored the event from 1990 to 2009, until the takeover of HBOS (which owned Clerical Medical) by Lloyds TSB (which owned Scottish Widows) to form the Lloyds Banking Group. As a result of the takeover the event was rebranded as the Scottish Widows Parish Walk. This sponsorship ran up to and including the 2011 event. On October 12, 2011 the organisers announced that Manx Telecom would be taking over sponsorship. Manx Telecom had provided the on-line timing systems for previous years but the 2012 event was their first as title sponsors.
The Parish Walk is organised by Manx Harriers, the largest Athletics club in the Isle of Man. A sub-committee of the club organises the event.
There are four main races within the Parish Walk - The Mass race, Ladies Race, Team Race and Under 21 Race.
The mass race
In 2016, the Mass Race was won by Richard Gerrard in a time of 15:31:43. He was followed by David Walker in second.
There is a Trophy awarded to the Best Lady Finisher which, in 2016, went to Karen Chiarello who completed the 85 miles in a time of 16:00:03, placing 3rd overall and just 88 seconds short of the course record.
The event is open to anyone with an age of at least 18 and under 21 on the day of the race, and finishes at Peel (32.5 miles).
The 2016 U21 winners were Alex Eaton (Men - 06:16:29) and Rebecca Greatbatch (Ladies - 06:58:40).
Teams may consist of up to four walkers but each team may only have two members who have previously completed the full 85 miles. The winning team is that with the highest total mileage. The total time is used as a tie-breaker should more than one team have the same total mileage. In 2016 the overall team winners were Organ Donation Isle of Man (Richard Gerrard 1st, David Walker 2nd, James Quirk 15th, Paul Clark 113th). Family with the hat on (Maureen Moffatt =98th, June Melvin =98th, Jessica Hatton =98th, Rebecca Moffatt =98th) were the quickest of the ladies teams.
- Parish Walk Website for the Parish Walk
- BBC article on the Parish Walk
- Program for 2015 Parish Walk
- Parish Walk Archives
- BBC Report on 2015 Race
- "Parish Walk Organising Committee".
- "Richard Gerrard wins Parish Walk". IOMToday. 2016-06-19.
- "Parish Walk Junior Race Results 2016" (PDF).
- http://parishwalk.co.uk/2016/PW16team.pdf Team Results