Strabane and Lifford are gearing up for one of the biggest events in the annual sporting calendar as the Half Marathon fast approaches on Sunday May 13.
Local people are being encouraged to turn out in force to support the participants in the Tyrone-Donegal cross-border challenge, with over 1,000 entrants expected to take part in the race.
The Council has also redesigned the route this year to create a safer course for runners and motorists alike – following on from close cross-border cooperation and advice from the Department for Infrastructure and Roads, PSNI and Gardaí.
Mayor of Derry City and Strabane District, Councillor Maolíosa McHugh, has wished all those involved good luck ahead of the race.
“The Strabane Lifford Half Marathon draws a great entry from both sides of the border – and the organisers are expecting a high number of participants for this year’s race. I want to wish everyone the very best in their efforts whether this is their first half marathon or an attempt at a personal best. Indeed, it’s fantastic to see that the running craze in the district is still going from strength to strength!
“I also want to urge people to line the streets in support of everyone taking part, just to give runners that extra boost to morale. And I would ask everyone on the day, both spectators and participants, to co-operate with stewards and heed any advice with regards to traffic and travel.”
Participants in this year’s race are advised to be at the Melvin Sports Centre at least an hour before Race Start time. The race will start in Meetinghouse Street at 9.30am and will finish at the Melvin Athletics Track.
Anyone planning a journey through Strabane or Lifford on Sunday 13 May should avoid the following routes due to road closures and heed traffic warnings in and around the town centre.
Traffic diversions will be in place at Meetinghouse Street, Main Street, Railway Street, Dock Road, Canal Street to accommodate the Race Start with lane closures in place at Derry Road, A5 Barnhill Road, A38 Lifford Road, N15 Sligo Road, Clady Bridge, Urney Road, Great Northern Link, Orchard Road, Melmount Road and Ballycolman Road.
Spectators should note that following the race start at Meetinghouse Street, the route will take participants through the town before crossing the Lifford Bridge into the South and making its way up to Clady – importantly taking the runners past the iconic ‘Tinnies’ in Strabane and impressive ‘Three Coins’ sculpture in Lifford.
The route will then cross over the Clady Bridge back into the North, pass along the Urney Road / Great Northern Link before turning onto Orchard Road, Melmount Road and the Ballycolman Road.
The runners will then take their final descent through the Ballycolman Estate before finishing at the Melvin Athletics Track.
Motorists are warned that traffic delays are expected in and around the route from 9.30am – 12.30pm. Pedestrian restrictions will also be in place at the path from Ballycolman estate via Melvin Sports Complex with access limited to accommodate the event.
There will be no parking available at Melvin Sports Complex on Race Day. Anyone travelling to the race start is advised to access parking at the dedicated Half Marathon Car Park in Dock Street Car Park.
Please also note that Mill Street Car Park is only available for parishioners of the Church of the Immaculate Conception.
Runners are advised that there will be no entries on the morning of the race. For more information on the race please go to www.derrystrabane.com/halfmarathon