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06 Oct 2022

County titles up for grabs at Ballinamore Festival Road races

Runners lined up for the start of the Ballinamore Athletic Club Festival Road Races.

New county champions will be crowned next Friday in Ballinamore but not in football as the Ballinamore Festival Road Races will also have the Leitrim Athletics County 10Km road races titles up for grabs.

In a new initiative with local roads all around the county, Leitrim Athletics have partnered with various road races to promote county championship races at various distances from 5Km to 10km and half-marathon with Ballinamore’s prestigious Festival Road Races hosting the first 10Km championships this Friday.

The first three male and female Leitrim club members and first three masters male and female club will receive medals with other events at other distances to be held with various roads races around the county.

With the weather forecast looking very promising this week, the Ballinamore Festival Road Races, organised by Ballinamore Athletic Club, should prove particularly successful with the races being held at 7.30.  

The Family Festival itself is back after an absence of two years but while no activity was possible in 2020 the club organised  the 10K and 5K at this time last year under severe covid restrictions. Entries had to be taken online only, no presentation of prizes was permitted nor was hospitality possible. This year will be back to normal.

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Ballinamore Athletic Club has had a long relationship with the Festival since the first road races were held as part of the 1968 Show week Festival as it was then called. The inaugural Festival the previous year had  a small number of events and Ballinamore AC organised four road races for the 1968 events. 

The U14 Boys event was won by Noel Maxwell of Carrickmakeegan while 16 year old  Eddie Leddy won both the U18 and Mens' races combined. The Women's race was won by Claire Walsh of Calry AC. Both Eddie Leddy and Claire Walsh competed for Ireland in the 1972 Olympic Games in Munich.

Down the years until 2010 the programme consisted of a number of short races for children and adults with race walking included. In 1970 the National Marathon was run as part of the Festival and in 1971 the Connacht v Ulster O'Duffy Cup match was held in Sean O Heslin Park. 

By 2010 the decision was made to move the 5K first run two years earlier and a 10K to the Festival programme in place of the previous events. The course was measured by two AAI approved measurers to ensure accuracy.  In 2019 a 1500m was added for the younger age groups who are not permitted under AAI Rules to compete in 5K races.  All races start and finish at the same place and all travel along the Main Street.

The Course records are:

  • 5K Women Breege Connolly (City of Derry) 17.17 2021
  • 5K Men Michael Morgan (Sligo AC) 15.20 2021
  • 10K Women Isobel Oakes (Ballinamore) 38.53 2016
  • 10K Men Colin Griffin (Ballinamore) 31.57  2019

Olympic Athletes who have competed in the Ballinamore Festival Roadraces were Eddie Leddy, Claire Walsh, Colin Griffin, Laura Reynolds and Breege Connolly.

Entries for the Open 10K and Open 5K including fun run can be made online to https//www.njuko.net/ballinamore2022 Competitors in the 5K must have been born in 2009 or earlier Entries for the U14 and U12 1500m must be made at the Sports Hall at 6.45 on evening of race

Entries for the 10K and 5K can, this year, also be made at the Sports Hall between 6 and 6.45 pm. Numbers will be available at the Sports Hall from 6 pm. There are numerous prizes, including cash prizes, in all categories and refreshments will be provided in the Den after the races.

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