Strabane was buzzing with colourful banners, excited applause and shouts of support on Sunday as over 1,000 runners pounded the roads to complete this year’s Strabane Lifford Half Marathon.
Runners and spectators turned out in their thousands as Derry City and Strabane District Council, in conjunction with Lifford Strabane AC, hosted the successful annual cross-border challenge – cementing the event’s reputation as one of the biggest and most popular races on the local athletics calendar.
Local knowledge was to prove significant on the day as Finn Valley AC’s Gerard Gallagher and Claire McGuigan from Lifford Strabane AC were the first senior men and women past the post while popular Carndonagh athlete Karol Doherty won the wheelchair section as the race finished on the running track at the Melvin Sports Complex.
There were winners throughout this year’s field however as runners of all levels reached and surpassed their individual goals.
Deputy Mayor of Derry City and Strabane District Council, Councillor John Boyle, congratulated the tired participants at the finish line, before presenting the prizes.
“Well done to everyone who took part in this year’s Strabane Lifford Half Marathon – and the crowds of enthusiastic well-wishers who lined the route to give encouragement to the runners” he said.
“Although the main winners were local, this year’s race has attracted entrants from all over the island of Ireland as well as internationally – and for a high proportion of runners taking part it was their first half marathon this year, which was heartening to see.
“The public have voted for this event with their feet – with a fantastic entry that bears testimony to the hard work of Lifford Strabane Athletics Club and Council’s Festivals and Events team in building its reputation as an efficiently run and friendly event to attend and take part in.”
Festival and Events Officer at Derry City and Strabane District Council, Aisling McCallion, also thanked everyone who took part in Sunday’s race which was being hosted for a fifth successive year.
“Congratulations to all of the runners, no matter what your level. Indeed, running a half marathon is a significant achievement and everyone should feel justifiably proud of their efforts” she said.
“This year’s race has been a huge success – and enthusiasm for the event continues to grow year on year.
“Council also redesigned a new and improved route this year to create a safer course for participants and motorists alike – which worked out really well for both runners and spectators.
“I would like to take this opportunity to say a massive ‘Thank You’ to Lifford Strabane Athletics Club – as without their expertise this event wouldn’t be possible – and also to our main sponsors SGN Natural Gas and O’Neills who have been brilliant.
“Finally, best wishes to every single runner as they pursue their future fitness goals – and importantly for making this year’s race a fantastic day to remember!”
Full race results are available here.