Road running boom continues in Omagh

Foyle Valley's Martin McBride with runners making their way through Bay Road Nature Park. (2304PG65)
Foyle Valley's Martin McBride with runners making their way through Bay Road Nature Park. (2304PG65)

TOMORROW’S OMAGH Half Marathon boasts a new, officially measured course and is set to attract another massive entry as the road running boom continues up and down the country.

Together with the supporting Fun Run, something between 1,500 and 2,000 participants are expected on the streets of Omagh tomorrow afternoon following the 12 noon start.

Many of those running will also have mid April’s London Marathon and/or the Belfast Marathon in early May, in their sights and will use Omagh as a vital guide to their final preparations for the upcoming big city challenges.

Omagh race director, Martin McLaughlin was expecting a good response last night when the race pack collection process kicked-off at race HQ in the Omagh Leisure Centre and will brace his administration team for a real onslaught on Saturday morning as the masses arrive pre-race.

All the Derry, Donegal and Tyrone clubs are expected to have their distance men and women out in force, keen to try the new course and hoping that the weather conditions are conducive to good running.

Many will have targeted this one from the start of the year and right through the field there will be lots of real competitive action as the miles unfold.

Staying on the road the race action moves on to Stranorlar next Friday evening, April 8th, with the fourth and final event in the Finn Valley 5K series. This one has a 7 p.m. start and with the stretch in the evenings should pull close to the 200 runners realised at the previous three races.

Beyond that, Sunday, April 10th offers a choice of action with the Titanic 10K in Belfast and the National 10K championship in Dublin.

Yet again an unfortunate clash as both are well organised and well supported events, however, local runners will have a presence at both.

The 10K championship in Phoenix Park is incorporated into the Great Ireland Run and will attract a massive entry, plus a top quality up front field.

Local kingpins, City of Derry Spartans will have designs on team and individual age group honours with their men’s squad expected to field in the Senior and Masters Championships in what will be the start of a busy two weeks for the ‘Red Vests’.

Seven days later they will be back in Dublin for the National Road Relays, this time in Raheny where once again championship medals will be the target.

Both male and female Senior and Masters squads are expected to travel for what is a real cracker competition and one which the locals have not contested since their glory days in this championship back in the early/mid 1990s when podium finishes were commonplace for the Spartans.

N.I. 5k Championships

Wednesday, April 20th will conclude the burst of road championship action when the opening race in the Furey Insurances 5K Series on the Bay Road circuit, hosts the Athletics NI championships with some top quality action guaranteed.

Promoting club City of Derry will defend both the male and female team titles and with the Foyle Valley men’s squad who medalled last year, the local challenge should be pretty serious.

Entries for the Bay Road race, which is sponsored by Donnelly & Taggart, can be made now by emailing fudgelarge@gmail.com

Just send your name, club and age on race day, the entry will be acknowledged and the race pack picked up on race day at race HQ, Magee Sports Hall, Northland Road Campus. The entry fee is £8 or E10, payable on the night.