A BUSY week for local road runners is in the offing with tonight’s “Dessie’s” Run in the Gransha Grounds and Sunday’s National Half Marathon Championship in Athenry will both have serious local interest.
A big turnout of club runners and joggers should descend on the Gransha Grounds for the annual Dessie’s 10 kms. while both Foyle Valley and City of Derry Spartans have men’s squads entered for the Athenry Championship race.
To “Dessie’s Run” first and entries will be taken from 6.00 p.m. at race headquarters in the U3A Foyle Building in the heart of the Gransha Estate. The entry fee is £8 or E10 and there are T-Shirts for the first 200 entrants, a generous prize fund and excellent post race refreshments.
The three lap course is both runner and spectator friendly and given decent weather conditions, the event can deliver quick times. All intending participants are asked to arrive in good time for registration as the race has a 7.15 p.m. start time. The entry process could be time consuming, so turn up in good time to get entered and complete a prerace warm-up.
Ballyare 10 kms
Declan Reed ran an excellent 32 mins. 06 secs. on Friday night last to easily win the tough Ballyare 10 kms. and will pass on “Dessie’s Run” tonight as he is an integral part of the Spartans squad for the Athenry Half Marathon Championship on Sunday. Indeed several of the top Foyle Valley and City of Derry road men will miss the action in Gransha as an all-out effort less than five full days prior to a Championship 13.1 miles is clearly not recommended.
Reed is joined in the Athenry bound contingent by Greg Roberts, Emmet McGinty, Kieran Hurley, Paddy Mhor Doherty, Paul McCafferty, James Brown, Damien McGinty and Christy McMonagle for the Spartans while Scott Rankin, Pius McIntyre and Chris McGuinness are confirmed Foyle Valley starters.
All are unlikely starters tonight so the local up-front action could focus on Noel Logan, Keith Shields and, possibly, Richard Johnston who has been featuring in some recent road and trail races. The Randalstown based Spartan finished runner-up to Annadales Owen Carleton in last Wednesday’s Crawfordsburn trail race.
There has been no confirmation of Belfast athletes Joe McAlister and Paul Pollock and the usual Donegal challenge, but all that could change on the night so no definitive pre-race predictions can be made.
Marina Campbell and Martina McMullan should keep the local females flag flying with Finn Valley’s Teresa McGloin who took the Ballyare women’s honours on Friday evening , perhaps keen to race on a less demanding circuit, and may make the trip to Gransha this evening.
A quick further mention of Sunday’s National Half Marathon. While the quality on show will be top class, the local boys have genuine medal prospects.
The Spartans will field in both the men’s senior and masters categories with expectations of featuring in the battle for individual and team honours. The Valley squad goes in the senior competion and have been training well in recent weeks. Much will hinge on how Scott Rankin copes with his first competitive outing over the challenging 13.1 mile distance.
For the local clubs in the senior competition, the usual suspects such as Clonliffe Harriers and Raheny Shamrock plus a rumoured entry from Annadale Striders will certainly pose a serious challenge.