Festival of Athletics to mark opening of Lifford AC track

Festival of Athletics to mark opening of Lifford AC track
A week long festival of athletics taking place in Lifford next week promises to be one of the highlights of a busy athletics sporting calendar across the North West during 2014.

A week long festival of athletics taking place in Lifford next week promises to be one of the highlights of a busy athletics sporting calendar across the North West during 2014.

The inaugural Festival coincides with the official opening of Lifford AC’s Mondo athletic track, a 10 year project in the making, with over €1 million spent on infrastructure development at the border club. The facility is being dedicated to the memory of one of the club’s founding members Ben O’Donnell, who was instrumental in the development of athletics not just in Lifford but across the country prior to his death in 1999.

Opening Track and Field Meeting

On Bank Holiday, May 5th, many of Irelands top athletes and emerging talent, as well as local athletes from across the North West will take part in the Official Opening Track and Field event on the new Mondo track. Household names such as European Cross Country Champion Fionnuala Britton and Paralympic Champion Jason Smyth will be involved along with the likes of Ciara Durkan, Joe Warne, Becky Woods and Niall Tuohy as well as some of the county’s best local talent including Ann Marie McGlynn, Mark Hoy, and John Kelly. A large number of young athletes will also travel from across the county to use the top quality competition and fast track to pursue European Youth Olympic qualification standards. A number of athletes from across the water in Scotland will also take part in the final event of the day, the Ben O’Donnell mile, in pursuit of Donegal’s first sub four minute mile.

The Senior event, which is also open to Masters athletes will start at 5pm, with entries to be submitted by Friday 2nd May to liffordac@eircom.net.

A juvenile programme for Under 13, 15 and 17 will take place earlier in the day at 2pm, with an open invitation to young athletes to be involved on a day of celebration for the club. Entries will be accepted on the day in Lifford.

Official Opening by Minister Michael Ring

Once the dust settles after the Track and Field action, Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport, Michael Ring will travel to Lifford on Tuesday 6th May to perform the official duty of opening and dedicating the new track and Stadium. An open invitation is extended to everyone to attend this event at the track at 4.30pm. As well as the local community, the club extends a warm welcome to athletes past and present as well as anyone involved with athletics and developing the new facility over the past decade.

Donegal Childrens Games and Juvenile Track and Field Championships

As part of the week long festival of athletics, and to celebrate the official opening, the Donegal Athletics Board has kindly agreed to host its County Championships at the Lifford venue. The Donegal Childrens Games for Under 9, 10 and 11 will take place on Tuesday evening, 6th May starting at 6.30pm, with registration from 5.45pm.

On Saturday 10th May, the Donegal Juvenile Track and Field Championships from Under 12 to Under 18 will take place in Lifford. This event starts at 12pm, with registration from 11am.

For queries on both events, contact athleticsdonegal@gmail.com

An Evening of Miles

In a week that celebrates the 60th anniversary of Roger Bannister’s legendary four minute mile, the club will host an evening of graded mile races in Lifford. This event on Wednesday 7th May is designed to encourage athletes that have not previously tried the distance to come and give it a go in addition to the more experienced track and field athlete. The races will be graded based on an athletes best 5K time from 15 minutes through to 40 minutes. The evening starts at 6.30pm

Cross Border Primary Schools Competition

On Thursday 8th May, schools from Lifford, Strabane, Omagh, St. Johnston, Carrigans and Raphoe will take part in a Cross Border Primary Schools competition. The event is designed to introduce young children to the sport in a fun and participative way, with a great day in store.

Strabane Lifford Half Marathon

To conclude the week of athletics, in partnership with Strabane District Council, the club will host the regions first ever cross border Half Marathon. Entries have been flowing in for the event since it was launched a number of weeks ago, with interest and excitement building on both sides of the border. Pre entry for this event can be made via post or on line through the Athletics Ireland and Athletics Northern Ireland web sites and further information on the Strabane Lifford Half Marathon Facebook page.

For further details on any of these events, please visit the Lifford Festival of Athletics Facebook page, or contact Brendan O’Donnell on 086-6007847 or email liffordac@eircom.net