Hundreds to compete in Ballyliffin Coastal Challenge

A runner takes on a section of the Ballyliffin Coastal Challenge, which takes place this weekend.
A runner takes on a section of the Ballyliffin Coastal Challenge, which takes place this weekend.

This weekend’s Ballyliffin Coastal Challenge is expected to attract even more competitors than ever before.

Inishowen is gearing up for the major event this Saturday, with competitors coming from all parts of the country to take part.

Each year, the numbers competing in this popular 10 mile challenge have increased, with 700 people participating in 2013.

Patsy Mc Gonigle, founder of the event, said they were expecting even more competitors to take part this Saturday

He said: “The number of people who have registered for the 2014 coastal challenge already is away ahead of what we had registered in the same time period last year. We are expecting bigger crowds than ever before.”

The event attracts not only walkers, joggers and runners from the wider Inishowen hinterland but nationally and indeed internationally with many spending the weekend in the area .

Mr McGonigle disclosed that by “looking at the entries to date, there are only 50% from Donegal. There are people travelling from all over to participate with particular emphasis on Dublin, Belfast and Limavady. It is great to be able to welcome so many visitors to the area.”

Commenting on the benefits of the event to the area Siobhan Kelly, Marketing Assistant for Inishowen Tourism said: “It is great to see so many people travelling to the area for the coastal challenge, thanks to Patsy and his team. They are raising the profile of Ballyliffin and indeed Inishowen to a wider audience. Ballyliffin and the surrounding area has a lot to offer as a holiday destination and we hope that these participants will return time and time again bringing family and friends.

The event is unique in that the final two miles is on Pollan Beach. The course fringes the sea with the backdrop of Malin Head and Five Fingers Strand, as participants follow the route through the Isle Of Doagh. Arrangements have been put in place to introduce a 10k route for 2015 along with the 10 mile, which will encourage even more people to participate.

Don Mc Gonigle manager of the Ballyliffin Hotel told how the coastal challenge was “always a great day.”

He said: “The crowds are getting bigger each year and it is great to see so many enthusiastic people in one town.” Registration for the event will take place at the Ballyliffin Hotel from 10am on Saturday, April 19th. Children’s races will take place on the day. The event itself kicks off at 2pm.