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Run Wild, Run West


River Moy 1/2 Marathon Ballina Co.Mayo,Saturday 14th May 2011 Run Wild Run West, the second running of the River Moy half marathon will take place on Saturday the 14th May starting and finishing on Cregg’s Road, Ballina. Some of the competitors will challenge the clock, others will challenge friends, some will challenge the terrain but all will challenge themselves

As the title suggests, the River Moy will be the scenic backdrop for most of this race.

The race is been organised to meet the very highest standards, with chip timing for all participants, an Athletics Ireland certified course, technical running shirts and great goodie bags which will be jammed packed full of fantastic products for our runners to enjoy.   A brilliant atmosphere is expected as family members, friends and supporters will be able to see competitors throughout the course along with lively musical entertainment at the start of the race, All details of the event & entry can be found on www.rivermoymarathon.ie

The Course Description– What Runners can appreciate along the River Moy half marathon route.

The half marathon route is relatively flat with a few challenging hills along the way. Most of the half marathon will be run on roads on either side of the banks of the River Moy. Just over one mile of the course will take participants through Belleek Woods. There is an excellent trail surface on this part of the scenic terrain, which is used daily by local runners and walkers

As the title suggests, Competitors will run in the heart of the northwest of Ireland, along the banks of Europe’s most famous salmon fishing river, the River Moy which will be the scenic backdrop for most of this race.

The River Moy half marathon will start on Cregg’s Road, Ballina near the home of rugby in Ballina and on reaching the Quay Road, there will be a sharp turn left as the race makes its’ way along the River Moy towards the town of Ballina. The first mile will take participants through the quaint Quay village with ‘Crocket’s on the Quay’ and the ‘Ice House’ being the two major landmarks in addition to the harbour itself.

At Riverslade, the town of Ballina comes into view and the impressive steeple of St. Muredach’s cathedral can be seen for the first time. On reaching the main Ballina to Sligo road at Bunree bridge, the participants will turn right and make their way towards the town. Further along this sweeping road can be seen the Bishop’s palace and St. Muredach’s college on the left hand side. The two historic buildings command a prominent view over the river. Nephin mountain should also be visible as it provides a lovely backdrop to the entire North Mayo area. As the bridge comes into view, all runners will prepare to leave the east bank and make the transition to the west bank!!!

On crossing the bridge, a sharp right onto Batchelors Walk, turning right on a short sharp incline will bring all runners to the imposing gate lodge of the old Belleek estate and through the archway therein. The Knox Gore family were the original owners of Belleek Castle and the surrounding estate and it will be possible to get an idea of the grandeur of the estate when it was fully operational.

On passing through the archway, The rolling hills of Belleek park then come into view and this has been the venue for countless county and provincial cross country athletics championships

Belleek woods will be on the right hand side of the route and then the runners veers left. . A line of trees along the outer limits of Belleek wood will steer the runners towards what was the orchard and gardens of the Belleek estate. Then the runners will then face a gradual incline to the main Ballina to Killala road where the runners turn right and make their way along the right hand side of the road for approximately two miles.

The half marathon route edges towards Killala but takes a sharp right at what is called ‘the half way house’ locally. It is also quite close to half way in the race also! The race snakes through a country road with fertile farmland on either side of the road. On reaching the brow of a slight hill, County Sligo comes into view on the far side of the river as it meanders towards the Atlantic at Killala Bay. All participants will be glad of the gentle decline towards a right turn which will take them back in the direction of Ballina again. There is a sense of stepping back in time as the runners will now be running on the route taken by the French forces in 1798 under General Humbert as they were making their way from Kilcummin to Ballina.

A long straight stretch will bring runners into a series of short sharp hills before the green canopy of Belleek woods come into view again. On reaching the gate of the woods, the underfoot conditions change. This is a much used route for local walkers, joggers and runners. Please note that the surface is a typical trail through woods but it is a nice change from the roads. The runners will have a nice decline into the woods over the appropriately named ‘Jogger’s bridge’ and the Knox Gore picnic area bordered by the Famine wall can be seen on the left.

After a series of gentle undulations through the woods, the route comes close to the River Moy again and depending on the tide at the time of the race, the remains of two old ships should be visible in the river.  Ironically, the finish line is directly across the river but there is a lot of running to be done yet.

With the River Moy directly on the left, participants will make their way at various speeds and levels of comfort through the woods and eventually reach the duck pond and as the name suggests, there should be ducks there! The old ice house lies in ruins alongside the pond and a very short hill will bring the runners onto the last wooded avenue which will take them out of the woods again. This is a beautiful avenue teaming with life – keep a sharp eye out for the native red squirrels which now inhabit the woods.

On reaching the end of the wooded avenue, the race veers left onto a rough trail road to bring all into Ballina again. A gentle climb will take the runners past the Ballina athletic club track again and past the Belleek estate gate lodge for the final time. A welcome downhill will bring the race into Ballina again and onto the banks of the river at Bachelor’s Walk. The tree-lined street will bring the bridge and Cathedral into view for the second time.

On crossing the bridge this time, runners will appreciate that the finishing line is not too far away. All steps are retraced down the Sligo Road to Bunree Bridge and through Riverslade to the Quay Village. On reaching the Ice House located at the brow of a slight hill (it may feel more than slight at this stage), runners can freewheel through the Quay area where the meandering path of the river is visible all the way to the ocean! The welcome turn onto Cregg’s Road will bring all runners to the finish line at Ballina Rugby club.

Prize giving and post race celebrations will take place in Crockets on the Quay on the evening of saturday the 14th May,we hope to see you there.

Check out www.rivermoymarathon.ie for all details and entries on Run Ireland.com