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The 2012 Manx Telecom Parish Walk

Starts from the National Sports Centre, Douglas at 8 am on 23 June 2012


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Marie Gilbertson & Samantha Draper:

Mother and daughter with 10 finishes

Marie Gilbertson with daughter Samantha Draper

There is only one mother who has finished the Parish Walk with her daughter and that is Marie Gilbertson. Mention that she has achieved that feat three times with Samantha and that she has a total of seven finishes and it becomes quite a story.

Add the fact that Marie's other daughter, Michelle, has walked as far as Lezayre and that all three of them intend to complete the course in 2012 and the tale gets longer still. And that is without mentioning that Samantha's paternal grandfather is a centurion or that Marie's partner is also a Parish Walk finisher.

Marie gets drenched in the 2007 Empire Garage Peel to Douglas Walk

Not that there are other bits of the tale that are so similar to other walkers that have been featured on this site.

Firstly, it was a friend from work, Dave Lockett, who persuaded Marie to enter the walk in 1998. She got to Peel in under seven and half hours at the first attempt and was to get faster for each of the next four years.

Her first attempt to go beyond Peel in 2005 saw her complete the whole course and like to so many people the first finish stands out as the highlight. There were tears of joy.

Marie in the 2008 End to End Walk

And there was the "never again" statement this year that has been retracted. It was hard to identify any areas of tension between mum and daughter but Samantha has vivid memories of her mother repeatedly saying that she was never going to do it again. It was the first time since they parted at the Sloc in 2007 on Samantha's debut that they did not walk side by side. It was agreed that Samatha should push on ahead for the last few miles this year and she was rewarded with a family best of 18:40:21.

Samantha is 26 years old, lives in Farmhill and is a PE teacher at Ramsey Grammar School. She only expected to get to Peel at the first attempt but walked more than 20 miles further to Andreas. She would have liked to have taken part the following year but she missed the wettest year in the history of the Parish Walk because she was studying at Edge Hill in Liverpool.

Samantha - missed 2008 event when training to become PE teacher

Bringing down the average age of the female finishers, Samantha had clocked up three finishes whilst still only 25. On the first she was so happy she said that she was crying all the way from the Liverpool Arms to the finish.

She used to take part in gymnastics and continued to coach at the Douglas Gymnastics Centre after missing out on selection for the 2001 Island Games and helped the Manx team prepare for a trip to Russia. More recently she has been active with Vikings Hockey Club and playing netball for Switched on Sharks.

In addition to teaching at school she works for Manx Sports and Recreation at the National Sports Centre in Douglas. Her father, Brian, is head of the Isle of Man Fire Service and his father, Charles, achieved centurion status (walking 100 miles in less than 24 hours) before moving to the Isle of Man. He walked as far as Santon in the 1983 Parish Walk too.

Samantha's dad Brian in the 2011 End to End Mountain Bike Challenge

Samantha's younger sister Michelle had reached Peel twice before this year but this time she walked to Peel in 8 hours and 10 minutes and spent almost double the time on the road continuing to Lezayre. Here is her record:

German 2008 08:45:15
German 2009 08:06:28
Lezayre 2011 16:27:07

Michelle Draper at Peel with Sam Cannell

The jam sandwiches which have taken Marie to seven End to End Walk finishes (best time of 8:01:42 in 2009) as well as her seven Parish Walk were not enough to get her to the finish of the 100 Mile Walk. She took part in the 2006 event at the National Sports Centre in Douglas but found the multi lap course too hard although she covered a creditable 65 miles.

Marie has finished the End to End Walk seven times

Sarah Maltby and Charlene McGarry provided Marie and Samantha's backup this year and their humour helped to get them around to the finish. Among other supporters over the years have been Marie's mother, Greeba, Samantha's boyfriend Nick Bowden and Marie's partner Tony Varley.

Tony has achieved many things in sport in the Isle of Man. He was a multi Manx Fell Running Champion before he switched to cycling and represented the Isle of Man in the 1995 Island Games in Gibraltar. Tony competed in every single Millennium Way Relay from 1979 until 2009 but before that he completed the Parish Walk in 1978. A year before that he was even challenging for the lead before retiring at Andreas in the year that Steve Gardner was the only finisher.

Tony Varley - Parish Walk finisher in 1978

Marie and Tony live in Colby and Marie works for 2E2 based at the Freeport in Ballasalla.

Every step counts in the Parish Walk and that is the name of the team that Marie and Samantha have lead to victory in the women's team section for the past two years. Gemma Collister was a member each year and reached the finish this year and Lezayre the previous year. The fourth member of the team was Michelle Draper in 2011 and Charlene McGarry in 2010.

Every step does count. Can you hazard a guess as to how many steps that Marie and Samantha have taken so far? I think there will be a lot more yet.


Murray Lambden - 26 November 2011

Photos by Murray & Mike Lambden

Statistics by Murray Lambden except End to End Walk by Jock Waddington

Parish Walk record

Marie Samantha















































Marie and Samantha's Parish Walk photo album

At the finish with family and friends in 2010

Left to right: Sam Cannell, Samantha Draper, Greeba Armstrong, Marie Gilbertson, Tony Varley, Juile Gilbertson, Mark Connor, Elisha Gilbertson, Michelle Draper, John McCann and Nick Bowden

Marie in 2003 at the Round Table

Over half way to her first finish in 2005

At Glen Lough in 2007 when Samantha stopped at Andreas on her debut and Marie completed her hat-trick  Also in the picture is Ben Mowle (1298) and Stephen Cooke (486)

Without Samantha for that awful weather of 2008 (David Comish is 53)

Union Mills in 2009 on the way to the first joint finish. Alongside them are John Killey (1549) and Peter Beighton (170)

And a few miles further on with Carole Staples (1475) and Regina Ripamonti (1443)

Smiling at the finish in 2010

Not quite so happy during the early stages in 2011

And two more from 2011 at Santon (above) and Peel (below)



Entries to date



Google Earth map

Email contacts

Elizabeth Corran (race secretary)

Raymond Cox (race director)

Winston Liu (chief marshal)

parishwalk.com is a part of manxathletics.com an independent site designed, edited and funded by Murray Lambden  The event is organised by Manx Harriers and sponsored by Manx Telecom neither of whom are responsible for the content of the site. Race information and results are published here on behalf of the organisers together with independent pictures, statistics and general information compiled by the editor.  The links to the live timing provided by SPORTident and sponsored by Manx Telecom are on a separate computer and not controlled by the editor.  He is, however, grateful to both parties for making the information available to him. Thanks to the Parish Walk committee of Manx Harriers for organising a great event. All of the information on this site is published in good faith but the publisher cannot accept any liability for any inaccuracies which, if identified, will be corrected as soon as possible.   Murray's Parish Walk Blog


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