There was a large and enthusiastic turnout at the Tower Hotel on Wednesday night for the Walled City Marathon 2013 launch.
Double Foyle Festival winner from 1984 and 1985, Tommy Hughes was in attendance and declared his intention to come back next June and try to complete a treble, some 28 years after his 1985 success.
Local athletics star, Greg Roberts also attended to support the City of Culture event and he too committed to running through his home town streets next year.
Entries go live from next Monday, December 3rd online at www.athleticsni.org or from the Foyle Hospice on the Culmore Road, telephone 02871359888.
With a stated limit of 1,000 runners better get in early.
The proposed route for the 26.2 mile race will take in all the sights of Derry, including the city walls and the iconic Peace Bridge.
It will hug the banks of the River Foyle as it takes in the rural areas around the city and follow a route through the Waterside, Cityside and city centre before a finish in Guildhall Square.
A full training schedule has been worked out, beginning in January, which will enable novices to properly prepare for the race.
The Walled City Marathon has a total prize fund of £9,000, with £1,000 going to the winners of both the men’s and women’s races. The runner-up in each race will take home £600 with £400 for third place.
Mayor, Cllr Kevin Campbell welcomed the inclusion of the city Marathon as part of the City of Culture events.
“The City Marathon will offer a great opportunity to showcase our city to runners from all over the island of Ireland and beyond.
“It will be one of a number of great sporting occasions taking place throughout 2013 and I hope it will become an annual event.”
Sports Minister Carál Ní Chuilín said it promises to be a memorable occasion: “The Walled City Marathon is a wonderful addition to Derry’s City of Culture celebrations in 2013. It adds a further dimension to the sporting strand of the year’s events.
“Weaving through the city for 26.2 miles, the marathon has drama, excitement and no lack of challenge for the athletes taking part. It promises to be a truly unique and memorable occasion.”
The last full distance marathon to take place in Derry was in 1985 when the men’s race was won by Co. Derry runner Tommy Hughes and he’s looking forward to the challenge.
“Having the marathon back in the city is a very exciting prospect,” he said. “It’s a very tempting prospect to come back and run it again, although it will be a very different course to the one I would have run in 1985.”