from Athletics Northern Ireland A new exciting race series, the ChampionChip Ireland Half Marathon Grand Prix was launched at the Mary Peters Track in Belfast. Key sponsor is eaga Heat and the series is organised in association with the governing body, Athletics Northern Ireland and running store Up & Running.
The Series will incorporate six of the top Half Marathon’s in Northern Ireland between March and July and has a total prize fund of £3,450. Omagh, Larne, Newry, Lisburn, Ards and Cookstown are all included in the Grand Prix Series. Competitors must compete in 4 out of the 6 races (see conditions) in the series to be in with a chance of a prize and cumulative finishing times will be used to determine prize winners in each category. Any runner completing all 6 races will get a commemorative garment.

Principal sponsor is eaga HEAT and Richard Rodgers is delighted to be involved in such an initiative saying
“eaga HEAT is delighted to be sponsoring the ChampionChip Half-Marathon Grand Prix Series 2009. eaga HEAT’s business is about bringing cost effective heating and insulation solutions to households across Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland, where each year we carry out more than 60,000 household visits to service and fix appliances, as well as installing more than 5,000 new heating systems.

A warm home with a cost effective heating system has a very positive impact in the health of the householder. Health improvements are at the centre of this Half-Marathon Grand Prix series with the thousands that take part challenging themselves to the limit. Good luck to everyone in achieving their own personal goals this year.”

The first two half marathons are fast approaching in under a month- firstly in Omagh on the 21st of March followed a week later by Larne on the 28thMarch. Entries are already streaming in for these two renowned fixtures.

Glenn Grant from ChampionChip commented:
“The ChampionChip Ireland Half Marathon Grand Prix is designed to reward the many runners who turn out at races week in week out and don’t win the individual prizes; now they can aim for the overall prize in their category. Just as in the Tour de France cycle race Lance Armstrong rarely wins a stage but shows determination and commitment to perform consistently over all the stages of the event and become the overall winner”.

Chipped timing will be in operation for all the Half Marathons- the transponder chip is attached to the runners’ shoe and their time is automatically logged as they cross the finish line ensuring reliability and accuracy of times and placings for all the participants.

Full details and a dedicated series section is available at: www.niathletics.org.

• The races taking part in the series are as follows:
Omagh Half Marathon – March 21st
Larne Half Marathon – March 28th
Newry Half Marathon – May 25th
Lisburn Half Marathon – June 17th
Ards Half Marathon July 3rd
Cookstown Half Marathon July 24th
• Competitors must complete 4 of the 6 races in the series and must do 2 from Omagh, Larne or Newry and 2 from Lisburn, Ards or Cookstown.
• The cumulative times of each competitor will be taken to calculate the rank in each category.
• If a competitor finishes in more than 4 races then their best 4 times will be used, provided they still have completed 2 races from the first 3 races and 2 from the second three events.
• A competitor will stay in the age group they ran in at their first race which is either Omagh or Larne.
• Where two or more competitors have the same cumulative time at the end of the series then their fastest applicable time from their 4 counting events on the series will be used as a tie break.
• Any runner completing all 6 races will get a commemorative garment.
• The proposed prize structure is shown above. The total prize fund is £3,450. Prizes will be in the form of vouchers.