Race set to be bigger and better

THIS year’s Dundalk Half Marathon and 10k Road Race will be bigger and better than last year’s inaugural event according to its organisers Brian Cafferty and Bryan McCrystal.

THIS year’s Dundalk Half Marathon and 10k Road Race will be bigger and better than last year’s inaugural event according to its organisers Brian Cafferty and Bryan McCrystal.

The race proved a massive success last year with over 1,000 people taking to the streets of the town for the event, including a whole host of people running on behalf of sporting clubs and charities.

This year’s race is scheduled to take place on Wednesday May 4 with the course remaining the same for both the half marathon and 10k. Once again, the event will start at Market Square before heading out to Ballymascanlon Roundabout via Clanbrassil Street and Dowdallshill.

Already hundreds have signed up for the event with organiser Brian Cafferty insisting that the main aim is to build further on the success of last year’s race.

“That’s the aim,” he told The Dundalk Democrat at the event’s recent launch in Market Square, which was attended by one of Ireland’s greatest ever athletes Catherine McKiernan.

“The first year of these events is always the hardest but we’re very lucky to have some great support locally.

“There were about 1,000 involved in the race last year so we hope for more this time around. Everyone involved last year said they got a great buzz from taking part and a lot of people commented on how good the marshals were so the aim is to build on that.”

Amongst the supporters of the event are Talk To Me Mobile Phones, who are the principal sponsors of this year’s race with owner Hugh McEvoy coming on board to coincide with the official opening of his new store at 1 Market Street.

Brian admitted it was a huge boost to have Hugh and Talk to Me on board.

“It’s great because there are huge overheads to the race between banners and everything else so there is a big expense there.”

The organisers had considered tinkering with the route of the race this year but opted against it. Now they are hoping to attract more people than ever to try and beat Gary O’Hanlon’s winning time from last year of an hour and 12 minutes in the half marathon and Martin Quinn’s time of 31 minutes 49 seconds in the 10k.

“We thought about moving the route slightly,” admitted Brian, “but we felt that would take away from it slightly. It’s going to remain the exact same and that will give people a better indication as to whether they’ve improved on their times from last year as well.

“We hope to get as many sporting clubs involved again this year as possible. The GAA gave us great support last year and it really added to the colour of the event but this year we’re reaching out to a wider range of sports including the soccer clubs and there will be a set of jerseys for the winners.

“It’ll be a big night and all we’re hoping for is that we get the same sort of weather as last year.”

Registration for both the 10k race and the half marathon is now open. Those interested can sign up at www.dundalkhalfmarathon.com

Free parking for the event will be provided at the Long Walk Shopping Centre, which will also act as the base for this year’s race.