More than 2,500 men and women braved warm temperatures, sunny skies and strong breezes to participate in Sunday’s North West 10K in Letterkenny.
In all, the participants included 1,000 runners and 1,500 people who walked the course through the town.
Greg Roberts of Derry City, who was participating in his first North West 10K, came in first with a time of 31.54. Finishing second and third were Patrick Brennan, last year’s winner, with a time of 32.35; and Kieran Doherty of the Letterkenny Athletic Club, with a time of 33.02.
The first woman to finish was Teresa McGloin of the Finn Valley Athletic Club, winning her second North West 10K with a time of 38.21; Helena Crossan of the Inishowen Athletic Club with a time of 39.22 and Noreen McGettigan of the Letterkenny Athletic Club, with a time of 40.36.
This year the event will benefit Donegal Mental Health Acute Services and Save Our Sight Donegal, but other Donegal charities have been given the green light to register with the North West 10K and do their own fund raising on the back of the annual event.
It is not yet known how much money was raised. Organisers have also asked other charities to let them know how much they raised. The race has raised more than E500,000 over the years for 25 charities in Donegal.
“It went brilliantly,” said Grace Boyle, North West 10K chairperson. “It was a great day, weather-wise it was great, and there was great support from the community.”
There were more runners taking part on Sunday than in the past. Normally walkers outnumber runners by about 2:1. Last year the event drew 2,300 participants, including 750 men and women runners.
“More people are out jogging,” Grace said. “It’s a big change.”
There were three water stations along the course. Grace said the Irish Red Cross was “fantastic” on Sunday, looking after people who were struggling with Sunday’s heat and dehydration.
Grace said the community support is the backbone of the 10K.
“It was such a very good community event,” she said. “Everybody in the community really pulled it together for us.”
Grace said everyone played a part, from business people, to emergency services, to participants and supporters. She offered a big thank-you to the gardaí and to Donegal Creameries, a major sponsor and to the Civil Defence.
The chairperson also highlighted other contributions, such as that of Seamus Morrison of Morrison Foods in Letterkenny, who refrigerated the bottled water for participants and brought it to the Letterkenny Community Centre; James Browne of Gortlee Tool Hire, who provided the barriers used along the route; and Paddy Tinney of The Grill in Letterkenny, who provided the stage at the community centre that the Blue Ribbon dance group used for its performance, and Grace wanted to thank Brighdin Carr and Blue Ribbon, too.
“Everybody gave such a good hand, really,” Grace said.