Noel: Half Marathon Man

Local athlete Noel Logan limbers up for this year's Waterside Half Marathon on September 9.

Local athlete Noel Logan limbers up for this year's Waterside Half Marathon on September 9.

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You may have noticed an increase in the numbers out pounding the pavements in recent weeks as the city gears up for its annual test of local endurance - the Waterside Half Marathon.

One Derry athlete who first took on the race challenge three years ago has since emerged as a leading figure in local running circles.

Noel Logan is now a member of City of Derry Spartans Athletics Club and has been clocking up some impressive times in local road races and track events from 5ks to half marathons.

The 24-year-old is now calling on all budding athletes to just get out there this year and take on the challenge.

“I’ve been running for a few years now and I got talked into doing the Waterside Half Marathon for the first time three years ago,” he explained.

“I was always into fitness, then I just got hooked on running and got roped into joining the Spartans.

“The Half Marathon is a favourite event of mine and, because I’m from the Waterside myself, there’s a bit of a competition for bragging rights here.

“I’ve noticed more and more people out training, which is brilliant - there should be some real competition this year.”

Last year, Noel completed the race in an impressive finishing time of 74 minutes but this year he hopes to shave another few minutes off his run.

“I’ve been in training for the race for a while now and I hope to better my time this year. I did it in 74 minutes last year and this year I’m hoping to do it in 72 if the conditions are a bit better.

“Last year’s event was tough - we were well and truly water logged by the finish - and I’m hoping for less wind during this year’s race as that can really affect your performance.”

And, while he believes the half marathon is the ideal event for local athletes to test themselves, Noel says it’s also an achievable target distance for people just starting out.

“It’s all good fun and it’s a great event for people who are running non-competitively to just get out there and take part,” he says.

“I would encourage anyone to join in the race, especially the relay which is great for shorter distance runners. Even the ten mile walk is a challenge if you haven’t been out training yet.”

The Waterside Half Marathon is now in its 31st year and it is expected that more than 2,000 people will turn out on September 9.

The event kicks off at 10.30 am at Gransha grounds and a full programme of family focused activities are planned from 10.30am until 1pm.

Race events include the Half Marathon itself, the three person Relay Event, the 2 km Family Fun Run and the Ten Mile Challenge Walk.

For more information and to sign up on-line, go to derrycity.gov.uk/watersidehalfmarathon