Manx Harriers and title sponsor Manx Telecom were keen to encourage more younger walkers into the Parish Walk this year and they have been rewarded with a field of 90 in the under 21 categories, just 2 below the 2010 record and 16 more than last year.
And if you believe that the future of the event lies in younger hands, or feet, then who better to have in the field than English Schools Champion Alex Eaton (above)?
The 18 year old is as clear a favourite as Richard Gerrard and Janice Quirk in the men's and women's events, and may even be the first to arrive in Peel. Under current rules the under 21 walkers are not allowed to walk beyond St Germains Church, or Peel Town Hall where the check point lies.
Of course, there is no certainty that Alex will be able to cover the 32 mile distance, its further than he has ever walked, but he certainly respects the distance and the event in which he has long term ambitions.
"My plan is to take it as easy as I can until around Dalby" he explained. "That is 10km from the finish which is my usual racing territory. Obviously I am completely untested over this distance and don't know the limits of my ability so on Saturday I'm planning on enjoying myself, staying sensible and if I'm still standing at Glen Maye I trust myself to get to the line!".
|06:17:13 Liam Parker (2011)|
|06:32:37 Charles Edward Doyle (2010)|
|06:37:12 Jenny Newbery (2012)|
|06:39:28 Erin Callister (2009)|
|06:40:32 Jenny Newbery (2011)|
|06:41:58 William Brown (2013)|
|06:42:26 Jenny Newbery (2010)|
|06:42:54 Sean Unsworth (2013)|
|06:44:59 Tom Bateson (2010)|
|06:45:08 Thomas Craine (2009)|
|06:45:32 Andrew Newton (2009)|
|06:46:51 Christopher Paul Shimmin (2007)|
|06:48:07 Matthew Skinner (2009)|
|06:48:28 Breeshey Harkin (2008)|
|06:51:41 Juan Corrin (2013)|
|06:52:53 James Moore (2008)|
|06:54:45 Jonny Killey (2009)|
|06:56:47 Julia Furner (2008)|
|06:57:49 Julia Furner (2007)|
|06:57:59 Sam Looker (2012)|
Best times by under 21s since computer times introduced in 2007
Alex remained calm and collected when questioned about records: "As with any race the primary target is to finish, and if I just see what it's all about this year then maybe in the future I will be in a better position to push for specific times/records."