All set for “Dessie’s Run” tonight

Competitors begin the Dessie's Run 10k at Gransha last Tuesday night. (0409PG05)

Competitors begin the Dessie's Run 10k at Gransha last Tuesday night. (0409PG05)

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Tonight’s annual Dessie’s Run in the Gransha grounds looks set to attract a big entry with the online pre-entries, yesterday heading towards the 100 mark.

And with race day entries accepted on site from 6 p.m., a 200 strong field could be on the cards.

The Dessie’s 10K road race has always been a popular local event and is seen by many as a vital preparation race for the annual Waterside Half Marathon which follows in early September.

Add the impact of the recent very successful Walled City Marathon and the weekly Park Runs into the mix and it’s no surprise that runners of all abilities will be out in force tonight.

The race commemorates the memory of a former Sparta AC club captain, the late Dessie McNulty, and at 10K offers a decent challenge to the regular runners and joggers, stepping up from the spring/summer diet of 5Ks or putting the final touches to their Waterside Half Marathon training programmes.

Top local club runners such as Greg Roberts and Scott Rankin have already entered, both are also confirmed Waterside Half participants and should be among the front runners on the Gransha circuit this evening.

Race HQ is at the U3A Foyle building in the middle of the Gransha Park grounds and entries will be accepted there from 6pm to 7pm tonight, in advance of the 7.15pm start.

Online entrants can also pick up their race packs there and pay the £8/E10 entry fee. There are race t-shirts available to the first 150 entrants so an early show will be essential to guarantee one of the much coveted Dessies T-shirts.

Competitive club runners will be out in force with significant numbers also from the likes of new running groups, Bolt, Reach and the Eglinton Road runners as the local running boom continues to develop.

Declan Reed, Emmett McGinty, Gary Slevin, Keith Shields, Chris McGuinness, Pauric McKinney and possibly the locally resident Kenyan, Freddy Sittu, could all line up for the hottest men’s race in years while 2012 women’s winner, Teresa McGloin, may fancy a shot at retaining her title.

The second and third placers from last year, Marina Campbell and Gillian Wasson are confirmed already with more top female performers expected on the night.

With a £500 prizefund covering both the Open and Age Group categories available and local bragging rights up for grabs, a great night’s racing is on the cards, excellently facilitated by the spectator friendly, lap course.