Former international athlete and RTE pundit, Jerry Kiernan, will perform the official opening of the Danny McDaid Athletics Track on Saturday afternoon at the Aura Leisure Centre in Letterkenny.
Kiernan is a former Irish team mate of Danny’s who has run under four minutes for the mile, has a personal best of 2:12:20 for the marathon and was winner of the Dublin City Marathon in 1982 and 1992. He was also a club mate of Donegal’s double Olympian when the pair ran with Clonliffe Harriers when they were based in Dublin.
Looking ahead to the eagerly anticipated sporting spectacle, which is expected to attract a huge crowd, Danny said he’s excited about the event.
“I met with the club chairman, Brendan McDaid, last July and that was the first time we tried to put a programme in place for the opening of the track. We certainly never envisaged that we would end up staging such a major event. To have secured 120 top class athletes for Saturday’s meeting is a great achievement,” Danny said.
Letterkenny Athletic Club Chairman, Brendan McDaid, explained that the event is very much aimed at families.
“We have received great support from the business people of the town and without their generosity, the event could not have been pulled together. We are appealing to as many people as possible to come along and enjoy what will be a great family day. With that in mind, admission for adults is only five euro, with children being admitted free. We have also put together a souvenir programme which will be on sale at a cost of four euro,” he said.
The chairman added: “We’ve hung or hat on the sub four minute challenge - we have two Kenyan athletes coming and we are confident they, along with a few Irish runners, will run under four minutes for the mile. We have the likes of Conor Bradley from City of Derry who has a personal best of 4:02, while our own track specialists of Darren Mooney, Ruairi Finnegan and Danny Mooney will also be in the field.
The big weekend of athletics gets underway on Friday evening with a five mile road race taking place at 7.30 pm. Proceedings commence on Saturday afternoon at the Danny McDaid Athletics Track with a juvenile programme from 3 pm to 4 pm. The first senior event will be the one hour race at 4.15 pm, with the official opening of the track scheduled for 5.30 pm.
Letterkenny AC’s 40th anniversary function will be held in the Station House Hotel after the meet, with the meal being served at 9 pm. Tickets are priced 20 euro and can be obtained from any committee member. MC for the night of reflection and chat will be Highland Radio’s Charlie Collins.