ATHLETICS: Bumper crowd expected for Sunday's Waterside half Marathon

Another big crowd is expected for Sunday's Waterside Half Marathon.
Another big crowd is expected for Sunday's Waterside Half Marathon.

A bumper field of over 2,000 runners are expected to descend on Ebrington Square this Sunday morning for the start of the 36th annual Waterside Half Marathon.

The longest running event on the local athletics calendar has also proved to be one of the most popular with the upsurge in participation in running locally, combined with a well received change of route in 2015, helping swell registrations with race organisers, Derry City and Strabane District Council.

The Family Fun Run and Team Relay options make it an event that caters for all ages and abilities and Mayor of Derry City and Strabane District Council, Councillor Maolíosa McHugh, urged as many local people as possible to come out and line the route to support all those taking part.

“I am delighted that local runners have again voted for the Waterside Half Marathon with their feet by registering in huge numbers for this event which is one of the longest running and well supported anywhere in Ireland,” he said.

“There has been a marked increase in the number of people out running on the roads around our City and District in recent years and it is good to see local people reaping the health benefits of taking regular exercise.

“I am delighted as a Council that we are able to cater for the popularity of running locally through events like the Strabane Lifford Half Marathon and the Waterside Half Marathon and I would like to take the opportunity to wish all those taking part the very best of luck in pursuing their personal goals in the race.”

The WHM course was revised in 2015 to take in both sides of the Foyle for the first time and that change has been retained after it received a ringing endorsement from competitors.

The race will again start in the stunning surroundings of Ebrington Square, taking in both sides of the river before finishing at the running track in the nearby St Columb’s Park.

Registration for the Waterside Half Marathon has now closed and runners are encouraged to collect their race packs at their earliest convenience.

Packs can be picked up at the Foyle Arena in St Columb’s Park on Friday September 1st from noon to 8pm and Saturday, September 2nd between 10am and 4pm.

Registration for the Family Fun Run, which is just over one mile, will close at 6pm on Friday.

Following the start of the main race, the family fun run will depart from the clock tower at Ebrington Square at 10.15am, 15 minutes after the main WHM runners take off.

Family fun runners under the age of 9 must be accompanied by an adult and all registered participants will receive a race medal and goodie bag at the end.

Registrations forms are available at www.derrystrabane.com/halfmarathon or at the Foyle Arena.

Registrations close at 6.00pm on Friday 1st September online but ‘last minute’ hard copies can be delivered to the Foyle Arena before 4.00pm on Saturday.

Members of the public are advised that a number of traffic and travel restrictions will be in place during the race which starts at 10am and the peak period for runners will last until noon.

The route travels along the following roads and traffic may be affected: King’s Link, Limavady Road, Waterfoot Park, The Gransha Grounds, the A2 Dual Carriageway (southbound), Foyle Bridge (eastbound), Lower Culmore Road, Bay Road, Queens Quay, Foyle Embankment, Foyle Road (southbound to junction at Bishop Street Without), Lower Deck Craigavon Bridge. If possible, avoid travelling along the affected route during the event.

For more detailed traffic and travel and information about the event go to www.derrystrabane.com, E mail halfmarathon@derrystrabane.com or call 028 71 253 253.