Almost 250 triple discipline exponents will descend on Templemore Sports Complex for the 28th Liam Ball Triathlon on Sunday.
The popular annual sprint triathlon will see elite and seasoned triathletes from all over the country compete for honours as it is a Triathlon Ireland National Series event.
However, many novice triathletes and beginners have signed up for the gruelling 28th instalment of North West Triathlon Club’s signature event - the second oldest triathlon in Ireland - which coincides with the club’s 30th anniversary this year.
The entries have been split into seven waves with the first competitors beginning the gruelling 750 metre swim, 20km cycle and 5k run at 8.30 a.m. and the last wave, the elite males, competing for honours at 11.10 a.m.
Triathletes from as young as 16 years-old will be taking part in the event while veterans such as Derry’s own Terry Donnelly and Danny Sheerin (pictured below) will be taking part in their 28th Liam Ball Triathlon, having finished every event since its inception.
North West Triathlon Club veteran, Roisin Lynch will be taking part in the event for the 27th time.
Race Director Patrick McLaughlin said the event had proven “as popular as always” this year. “Entries were sold out within five days this year,” he said. “The Liam Ball Triathlon is a National Series race again this year so it’s a premier league race which attracts triathletes from all over the country.
“The Liam Ball is one of the longest running sporting events in the city and one of the highlights in the North West’s sporting calendar - it’s also the longest running triathlon in all of Ireland,” he added.
A prize giving ceremony will take place in the complex at 1.30pm.
Registration will open at the Coffee Dock, Templemore Sports Complex tomorrow (Saturday) from 4pm to 5.30 p.m. and again on Sunday morning from 7.15am to 9.30pm.
Meanwhile, Track & Field starts the weekend action with the opening round of the new NI Youth Development League at Antrim tomorrow and the North West 10k road race in Letterkenny following on Sunday.
Monday’s Belfast Marathon completes what will be a busy few days as May heralds what should be a great summer of athletics.
City of Derry Spartans and Olympian are expected to contest tomorrow’s YDL in Antrim and their U13 and U15 squads will have to be on top their game in what will be an ultra competitive contest.
Both local clubs did well in recent years in the former Young Athletes League and hopefully will be up there once again tomorrow.
A bit later up the road in Letterkenny it’s another popular annual event, the North West 10K road race with the usual big field expected for the 2 p.m. start on the Pearse Road.
The Bank Holiday weekend closes with the Belfast Marathon which has a 9 a.m. start outside the City Hall and thousands will line up for the full 26.2 miles or the five stage team relay.
Many local runners will be among them, some of them perhaps getting one in before next month’s brand new Walled City Marathon on Sunday, June 2nd.
Derry District Secondary
Finally mention of the District Secondary Schools track & field championships in Antrim on Wednesday next, when the leading local schools athletics talent will seek qualification for the Ulsters on May 18th and beyond that the All-Irelands in Tullamore on June 1st.