Last chance for NI & Ulster athletics clubs to enter Road Relay team event

Orangegrove AC is gearing up for the club’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.

With the entry deadline of 23:59 on Sunday 29 September looming, athletics clubs who have yet to enter teams into the Athletics Northern Ireland Championship event will need to move quickly to get a piece of the action in the Relay and Junior events.

Building on the success of last year, when the Belfast club welcomed over 200 teams from across the province, the club’s massive volunteer effort is once again being deployed to deliver a fantastic day out for runners and spectators alike.

Hundreds of Ulster’s top club runners are expected to compete over a fast 3380m course for a cash prize pot. The fund will be distributed to 1st, 2nd and 3rd-placed teams in the Man’s and Ladies Senior and Master’s relay races.

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, which is generously sponsored by McFarland Consulting and O’Reilly Stewart Solicitors, up for grabs for any record-breaking team.

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 next month’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: