LETTERKENNY Mayor Councillor Paschal Blake was this week joined by local stakeholders to announce the official date for the 2014 Donegal Marathon. The event which was last organised in 1981 has been confirmed for Sunday August, 24 and will be based in Letterkenny.
The event is being organised by a local steering group that includes Letterkenny Athletics Club, Letterkenny Town Council, Donegal County Council, Donegal Sports Partnership and other interested individuals. As well as holding a full marathon the day will also include a half marathon so as to cater for runners who wish to complete a shorter distance.
There has been much excitement locally when the possibility of the Marathon was discussed so the committee were keen to announce the date in advance of the New Year.
Mayor Blake said: “I’m delighted to be able to officially announce the date for the Donegal Marathon in 2014. I hope everyone in the county and further afield will sign up to this event and use it as motivation to get more active. For most people, running is a cheap and easy way to get more exercise, which most of us need. Why not use this date as something to aim for and complete next year”. Mayor Blake also extended apologies from County Mayor Councillor Ian McGarvey and Vice Mayor Councillor Michael McBride and Town Councillors Ciaran Brogan, Jim Lynch, Jimmy Kavanagh, Victor Fisher and Lisa Culbert who had previous commitments.
The full and half marathon routes are currently being finalised but are confirmed as starting and finishing in Letterkenny. An official launch for the event is planned for the New Year when work on a website to promote the event is complete. It is planned that the website will allow participants to register and pay their fee in advance of the actual race as well as advising on training programmes and how best to prepare for the event.
Cllr. Dessie Larkin, who proposed the organising of a Donegal Marathon at a Letterkenny Town Council meeting after discussions with local runner and committee member Paddy Hannigan acknowledged the key role that Letterkenny Athletics Club would fulfil with regards the event: “I am especially pleased to see the involvement of the various stakeholders who have come together for this event. A special mention must go to Letterkenny Athletics Club members Danny McDaid, Brendan McDaid and Eunan Kelly who I’m sure will use their vast experience in organising major race meetings to ensure we have a successful event for the County”. Brendan McDaid acknowledged the busy calendar of the Letterkenny Athletics Club that currently includes the Northwest 10km and the Danny McDaid 15km but believes these can events can help those training for the half and full marathon. The enthusiasm of local people who wanted a marathon for the county was seen to be key to the involvement of the Letterkenny Athletics Club.
Myles Sweeney of the Donegal Sports Partnership stated that a Donegal Marathon would be something they as a sporting organisation were very keen to support: “With the explosion in numbers of people running in the county and partaking in local 5km and 10km races, we as an organisation believe there is a desire for a marathon and a half marathon in the county. We would hope to help guide interested people in terms of their training programmes and the formation of running supports at local level.”
The committee are very expectant that the coming months will see many people register to participate in the full and half marathon and thus ensure that the event becomes a mainstay in the athletics calendar for the foreseeable future.