ATHLETICS: Derry’s Road Race Classics Loom

A very happy Catherine Whoriskey (693) from CoD Spartan was the first lady to finish last year's Dessie's Run in 36:37. She went on to win the Waterside Half Marathon a few weeks later.
A very happy Catherine Whoriskey (693) from CoD Spartan was the first lady to finish last year's Dessie's Run in 36:37. She went on to win the Waterside Half Marathon a few weeks later.

As August kicks in, two of the best road races in the North West loom large in the sights of many club and recreational runners.

Indeed, the 10k Dessie’s Run in Gransha on Tuesday, August 23rd and then the fabled Waterside Half Marathon out of St Columb’s Park on Sunday, September 4th are next up on the local athletics calendar.

A classic pair of races which appeal to runners of all abilities and the entry processes for both are already recording many hits as participants sign up to get on the start lines.

First up is Dessie’s Run on Tuesday, August 23rd and with the new course introduced last year proving popular, another 300 plus entry is expected.

It’s a 7pm start in the Gransha Grounds, a few laps there and then an out-and-back on the Waterside Greenway - St Columb’s Park circuit to finish at race HQ at the U3A Foyle car park in Gransha.

Former Annadale Striders star, Paddy Hamilton won last year in 31m 13s, chased home by the Spartans’ Declan Reed, 31m 20s and Foyle Valley’s Scott Rankin on 31m 32s.

Two weeks before her historic Waterside Half Marathon victory, Catherine Whoriskey posted an impressive 36m 37s to take the female race honours ahead of Springwell’s Gemma Turley on 39m 14s and another Spartan Jackie McMonagle on 40m 52s.

A quality course and a quality field should be the order again this year and online entry is now available. Send your name, club, gender, age on race day and t-shirt size to dessiesrunentry@gmail.com to confirm your place or enter in person on the night at the U3A Foyle premises, between 5pm and 6.45pm.

The entry fee is £10 and the first 300 entrants will get a race t-shirt and there is the usual generous prize fund for the leading finishers and top age groupers.

Online entry is open to 5pm on Monday, August 22nd and online entrants can pick up their race pack and pay the entry fee at race HQ on the night from 5.30pm to 6.45pm.

WATERSIDE HALF MARATHON

Twelve days later, Sunday, September 4th it’s the 35th staging of the much loved Waterside Half Marathon and the first closing date for this annual Autumn classic is Monday, August 15th next.

A massive online pre-entry is already banked and all intending participants should get their places booked as soon as possible to avoid disappointment. Paper entry forms are now available at both the Foyle Arena and Templemore Sports Complex and also at Strabane’s Riversdale Leisure Centre.

To enter online check out www.derrystrabane.com/halfmarathon

The entry fee is £22 for individual runners and £60 for the associated three Person Team Relay format.

On the Relay option, three runners cover the full 13.1 miles in bit size chunks, the event organisers are appealing for more entries. The early response is slow, as it has been in previous years but with all Male, all Female and a mixed option available numbers should grow significantly in the next few weeks.