Letterkenny Athletic Club will stage the 40th annual Hickey, Clarke & Langan Interfirms 5K road race on Tuesday, May 16th at 7.30 pm. with the start and finish next to the the old Dunnes Stores on Oldtown Road.
The interfirms is one of the longest established races in the north west and has always proved to be one of the most popular 5Ks in the Donegal Athletics Board Grand Prix Road Series which kicked off with the North West 10K in Letterkenny at the end of April.
Looking ahead to the event, one of the organisers, Danny McDaid, who holds the course record and who won the first interfirms 39 years ago, is confident that the race will attract another large entry.
"I think a lot of people in the running game will agree that there has always been something special about the interfirms," he said.
"In the early years, it was extremely popular and then in the nineties, the number dropped a bit. But in recent years, we've had incredible numbers. Weather permitting, it has always thrown up good times," commented Danny, who certainly made his mark on the event when he was in his prime. He won the first race, held on Wednesday, April 12th, 1978 in a time 14:08 and in 1979, clocked a new course record of 14:06 that still stands.
"The team element added a bit of fun and I suppose a bit if competition among work colleagues. I'm really glad the race has stood the test of time. So many things in sport come and go, but it's great to see the Interfirms is an event that is still as popular as ever. We are extremely grateful to Hickey, Clarke & Langan for their loyal and invaluable support and sponsorship," Danny said.
The race was the brainchild of former Letterkenny AC committee members Dick Duffy (deceased), Fr Kieran McAteer and Charlie Kelly. Danny McDaid led a field of 83 runners home in the inaugural staging of Interfirms, with Fr Kieran McAterr (Clergy) second in 14:48 and and Michael Crampsie (Dohertys) third in 14:57. The top eleven runners were under the 17 minute mark and the winning Dohertys team was made up of Michael Crampsie, Patsy Doherty (9th in 16:26) and Jimmy Gildea (24th in 18:17).
Local man, Kevin Toner, who was a regular counter on the Post Office team has competed in all but one Interfirms races. Kevin had a hip replacement at the start of last year and was unable to take the starter's gun in 2016. However, the highly respected Letterkenny AC stalwart is hoping to be among the large entry next Tuesday night. The race gets underway at 7.30 pm, with registration from 5.30pm at the Aura Leisure Centre.
Pictured: Siobhan Bonnar, centre, representing Hickey Clarke and Langan Insurance Ltd. main sponsors of the Interfirms Race, pictured at the press conference to announce details of the this year's run on the 16th of May. Included from left are members of the organising committee including Neily McDaid, Michael Galvin, Danny McDaid, Brandan Mc Daid and Danny Mooney. Photo Brian McDaid