We’re almost there with less than two weeks left to the hugely-awaited Donegal Marathon in Letterkenny on August 24th.
But what exactly is the route, where are the hills and where runners can get a drink of water.
The good people organising the marathon have completed the route (not sure if by foot or car!) and have written a virtual tour for participants and spectators.
Runners will assemble at the Aura Leisure Centre and after registration is completed, we will make our way to the Starting Line.
The full marathon will comprise of three loops within the course. There is a core loop that will be run once by the half marathon competitors and twice by the full marathon competitors; a loop in and around Letterkenny town that will be run once by all competitors; and a loop that will be run once by the full marathon competitors out around the Foxhall area to the west of Letterkenny.
All will be explained on this virtual tour!
Spectators positioned along this course can witness the participants; your family, friends and neighbours; pitting themselves against the limits of their own endurance for up to four hours or more, from one or more locations along this course.
Your support on the day could provide just the encouragement needed for the competitors to realise their dream. So let’s get behind the runners and decorate the course in a sea of Donegal colours to provide a wall of encouragement and celebration.
We’re at the start line, it’s almost 10.15am, we’re under starter’s orders, facing Letterkenny… and we’re off! From here, we make our way into town to the small roundabout at the bottom of Lower Main Street, turn right over to the small roundabout at Oldtown Bridge but turn left along Pearse Road. We make our way to the junction at the bottom of Rosemount, where we turn right over towards the new Dunne’s Stores’ Roundabout. We follow the Neil T Blaney Road around to the Polestar Roundabout where we circumvent the roundabout to make our way out the Ramelton Road with Mount Errigal Hotel on our left, and through Ballyraine. We continue on this road to the small roundabout at Key’s Garage, close to Arena 7, and turn left up past the Donegal Creameries Co-op, following the road around to take us past the Church of the Irish Martyrs on the left past Gortlee Tool Hire on the right and down Gortlee Hill. At the junction, we turn right and head for the small roundabout at the old Oatfield Sweet Factory site. We continue on in the direction of the Station Roundabout with Letterkenny Shopping Centre in to our left. At the roundabout, we head towards Main Street, up past An Grianan Theatre on our right, to the traffic light junction at Letterkenny Courthouse. We continue onto Main Street and follow this road through Lower Main Street back down to Grier’s roundabout.
At this point, we turn left and retrace our steps towards the Oldtown Bridge and this time at the small roundabout, we cross the bridge. At the Ros Suillighe Roundabout on the other side we turn right to take us out Crieve Road, past Crievesmith Park on our left. We are now heading out into the open country. We will follow this road for three miles, passing Rockhill House on our left, until we come to Newmills Flax Mill. Here, we continue on this side of the river through Newmills with the bridge off to our right. We make our way towards Billy’s Junction at Rashedoge.
Here we turn right onto the R250, and then we turn right heading back towards Letterkenny. We will follow this road passing Conwal Graveyard and then Ballymacool Park on our left, and O’Donnell Park on our right. At the Ballymacool Roundabout we continue on towards the Aura Leisure Centre, where we will either turn right and in onto the track to complete the Half Marathon; or to complete the Full Marathon, we will continue on the main road until we come to Grier’s roundabout. At Grier’s roundabout we once again turn right and over towards Oldtown to cross the bridge and once again proceed out the Rockhill road towards Newmills. At Rashedoge, we will then turn left to run the third loop which is reserved for the full marathoners. We proceed out the R250 in the Meenaroy/ Fintown direction, past the school on the right, to turn right at “Barracks”. Continue along this narrow road, past the graveyard on the right, and on to the junction at the top of Foxhall. Here we turn left and run for 200m to a’turnaround point’ before heading back down Foxhall towards the Churchill/ Fintown junction. Here we follow the R250 back towards Letterkenny to turn right into the Aura Leisure Centre and onto the Athletics track to complete our full marathon to the cheers and congratulations of our adoring supporters (well maybe not adoring, but you get the picture!!) The bad news is that only one of you will get to break the tape in each event, but together every one of you will have created history for Donegal in establishing the Donegal Marathon in the 21st Century, and will have achieved what most ‘couch potatoes’ would consider a feat of utter madness! So well done, one and all!
Whether you complete the half or full marathon, you will have earned the respect and congratulations of your fellow competitors, family, friends, neighbours, and acquaintances. You can then make your way into the centre to collect your medal, Finisher’s Pack, and avail of the free massage therapy that will be on offer. Meanwhile your family and friends will be entertained at the family fun day. Here, there will be face-painting, photo booth, outdoor music and more bouncy castles than you can shake a stick at.
To the friends and family we ask you to line this route, compromising of the three loops outlined, to give your support to the runners. To the residents living along this course, we wish to apologise for any inconvenience caused, but wish to emphasise the great community endeavour that goes into such an event, and ask that you support the runners in any way you can, particularly by displaying the Donegal colours from every possible vantage point. You can even leave them there for certain upcoming matches that will take place a week later! Donegal… has it all!
For more details and registration check out: www.donegalmarathon.ie where you can access a copy of the map of the course in various formats.