Entries open for 2021 Donegal Half Marathon

Pictured at the launch of the 2021 Donegal Half Marathon at the Danny McDaid Track at the Aura Leisure Centre in Letterkenny where the race will finish. From left, Danny McDaid, Donegal Half Marathon Ambassador; Eunan Kelly, Donegal Half Marathon Treasurer; Cathal Curran, Kernan’s Retail Group and Brendan McDaid, race director.

The 2021 Donegal Half Marathon is now open for entries.

As the country begins to ease gradually out of Level 5 lockdown, the Donegal Half Marathon Committee are confident that an actual race will be allowed to take place in Letterkenny on Sunday, August 29th, 2021.

Speaking at the launch of the event on Tuesday, race director, Brendan McDaid, said: “Due to the Covid-19 restrictions last year, we weren’t able to stage an actual race. But given the indications from government in relation to the continued opening up of the country, we are extremely hopeful that we will be hosting a race in Letterkenny on the morning of Sunday, August 29th in Letterkenny.”

“This week has seen the resumption of adult group training in pods of 15 which is a massive step forward for the sport of athletics. There’s also a notable level of excitement about the return of the Donegal Half Marathon in 2021 to Letterkenny. It has been a long lockdown since December and the Donegal Half Marathon, which will once again be held in association with the Kernan’s Retail Group, will give many something to aim for as we head in to the summer,” the race director added.

“Sponsorship is key to the success of the Donegal Half Marathon. We are delighted to be teaming up again this year with the Kernan’s Retail Group who have been so generous since they became the main sponsor a few years ago. We are also grateful for the support we receive from Donegal County Council, Optum, Donegal Sports Partnership and the Donegal Volunteer Centre.”

In a new departure, the Donegal Half Marathon will adopt a Wild Atlantic Way theme. Donegal Half Marathon Ambassador, Danny McDaid, outlined the reasons behind the move.

“While the Donegal Half Marathon has been based in Letterkenny since it was first staged in 2014, the Donegal Half Marathon Committee members are keen to give the race more of a county feel. Given the success of the Wild Atlantic Way tourism trail, we thought it would be a good fit for the Donegal Half Marathon. We are planning to promote a different point along the local Wild Atlantic Way route over the coming years,” he commented.

“The idea is to promote one of the key points and this year we are going with Fanad Lighthouse which is regarded as Donegal’s most iconic tourist attraction by people both at home and abroad. The medal and t-shirt will depict the Fanad Lighthouse image. We are extremely grateful to Joan Crawford, Wild Atlantic Way Client Services Manager with Failte Ireland, for her help and support and we look forward to working with herself and the organisation over the coming years. We hope this is the start of a long and successful partnership and that competitors can build up a collection of Wild Atlantic Way themed medals over the next number of years,” the double Olympian added.

After much deliberation last year, the Donegal Half Marathon Committee organised a virtual event which proved an overwhelming success.

“Almost 250 people took part in the 2020 Virtual Donegal Half Marathon from all parts of Donegal, different parts of Ireland and in various countries throughout the world. The event raised €6,000 for the Acute Stroke Unit, while a defib was also purchased and installed at the Kernan’s Store at Tullygay from the proceeds,” race director, Brendan McDaid, recalled.

“The Donegal diaspora took a big interest in the Donegal Half Marathon. For that reason we have decided to hold a virtual event again this year, in conjunction with an actual race, to accommodate those who can’t make it to Donegal on the last weekend in August, or Irish-based people who won’t be in a position to be in Letterkenny on race day.”

“Guidelines permitting, we are hoping to be able to let the entire field away from the start line at the same time. We are looking at a number of options with regard to how we will stage the actual race this year, with letting the runners off in waves being one of them, if the guidelines that are in place in August don't allow all participants start together. We will let the participants know in advance what way it will be run off.

“The relay section, which will see three-person teams each complete 7K, had a great response two years ago. We are expecting an even bigger entry for this part of the event this year,” Brendan added.

The 2021 Donegal Half Marathon will be based at the Aura Leisure Centre in Letterkenny and gets underway at 9.20 am.

Entry fee this year’s event is €30 and the cost of a relay team is €75.

To enter click on the link below:

https://www.njuko.net/dhm2021