The hard work is done and the waiting is almost over for the 2,000 runners expected to take to the start line at the Waterside Half Marathon this Sunday, September 4th.
Now in its 35th year, the event is one of the most popular and established races on the national athletics calendar.
Race organisers Derry City and Strabane District Council have reported another ‘full house’ since registrations closed last week and, with a Team Relay option and a 2k Family Fun Run taking place in conjunction with the main race, it caters for runners of all levels and ages.
Looking ahead to the event, Mayor of Derry and Strabane District, Alderman Hilary McClintock, said it was a day for all the family to look forward to.
“I am delighted that the WHM continues to prove so popular with the public who have endorsed it by registering in such large numbers again this year,” she said.
“There has been a huge upsurge in running participation numbers across the district in recent years and more and more local people are reaping the health benefits of taking regular exercise and making good lifestyle choices.
“While there can only be one winner in each section, every participant will have their own goals on the day and I’d like to take the opportunity to wish all of those taking part well as they finalise their preparations.”
Last year’s change of route has been retained after it received a ringing endorsement from competitors and spectators alike.
The race will again start in the stunning surroundings of Ebrington Square, taking in both sides of the River Foyle before finishing at the running track in the nearby St Columb’s Park.
In the female race, defending champion Catherine Whoriskey of City of Derry Spartans will lead the local challenge and comes into the event in red hot form following her recent podium finish at the National Half Marathon in Dublin.
Last year’s runner up Freddie Sittuk will start as one of the favourites for the men’s race. The Kenyan enjoyed recent success in the colours of the Raheny Shamrock’s club at the National Track and Field Finals in Tullamore but he is expected to be pushed all the way by local favourite Scott Rankin.
Runners are encouraged to collect their race packs at their earliest convenience. Packs can be picked up at the Foyle Arena in St Columb’s Park on Friday September 2nd from 12 noon to 8pm and Saturday September 3rd between 10am and 5pm.
Members of the public are advised that a number of traffic and travel restrictions will be in place during the race which starts at 10am and the peak period for runners will last until 12 noon.
The route travels along the following roads and traffic may be affected: St Columb’s Road, Limavady Road, Waterfoot Park, The Gransha Grounds, the A2 Dual Carriageway (southbound), Foyle Bridge (eastbound), Lower Culmore Road, Bay Road, Queens Quay, Foyle Embankment, Foyle Road (southbound to junction at Bishop Street), Lower Deck Craigavon Bridge. If possible, avoid travelling along the affected route during the event.
Event parking for runners will be available at the Foyle Arena, Oakgrove Integrated Primary School, Ebrington Theatre, Old Bridge Health Centre on Glendermottt Road and within the Ebrington Site.
For more detailed traffic and travel and the race itself see www.derrystrabane.com/halfmarathon.