Final preparations are underway for Orangegrove AC’s 8th annual hosting of the Festival of Running in the verdant setting of Victoria Park, Belfast on Sunday 6 October, in association with McFarland Consulting and O’Reilly Stewart Solicitors.
This year will be the biggest ever event, with 1100 runners registered to compete on the day across the Junior, Senior and Masters categories.
Orangegrove’s massive volunteer team effort is once again being deployed to deliver their legendary welcome and a fantastic day out for runners and spectators alike.
The top teams will be competing for a cash prize fund distributed to 1st, 2nd and 3rd-placed teams in the Man’s and Ladies Senior and Master’s relay races, generously sponsored by McFarland Consulting and O’Reilly Stewart Solicitors.
Last year saw Queen’s University Belfast, led out by Northern Ireland 5000m & 10,000m record holder Emma Mitchell, take the Senior Ladies’ title, but their time was over a minute outside Newcastle AC’s 2015 record that had been set with the aid of Olympian Kerry O’Flaherty.
More top-class performances resulted in every other victorious team posting winning times less than a minute outside the course records. St Malachy’s AC was victorious in Senior Men’s category, Beechmount Harriers took the win for the Masters Ladies and North Down AC won the Masters Men’s race.
The organisers are expecting this year’s fastest teams to again make an attempt on these records, chasing down the £200 cash bonus up for grabs for any record-breaking team thanks to McFarland Consulting and O’Reilly Stewart Solicitors.
Orangegrove AC member Darren Houston commented “The organising committee and our sponsors are hoping for a quality competition, and that promise of a prize bonus will lead to the course record being broken this year.”
The Festival also incorporates individual races for Junior and Primary Schools. Over 100 children competed for individual prizes across eight age categories in last year’s event, and this weekend’s competition is sure to generate similar interest.
Orangegrove is keen for clubs and supporters to join in the festival atmosphere, and clubs who wish to set up their own team tent or gazebo in the park for the day are encouraged to do so.
Further details and online entry forms are available on the event website: http://orangegroveac.co.uk/ni-relays/