No rest for the runners over Christmas

Christmas athletics fixtures in Galway commence on Christmas Day with the annual Goal charity mile which takes place at 130 venues throughout the country.

Goal Miles take place at three venues across County Galway this year - South Park Grattan Road on Christmas Day at midday, St Jarleth's College on Christmas Day at 11am to 12.30pm, and the Dangan Running Track, NUIG Campus on Christmas Day at 10am to 1pm.

Now in its 34th year, the annual fundraising event regularly attracts tens of thousands of participants. People run, jog or walk a Mile for Goal in villages, towns and cities the length and breadth of Ireland. All ages are catered for and families, in particular, are encouraged to attend.

Goal CEO, Barry Andrews, says the mle is now an integral part of Christmas for thousands of families.

Goal is hoping this year’s events will help highlight the plight of people displaced from Syria, South Sudan and other conflict regions of the world.

Fields of Athenry

The following day, St Stephen's Day, another long time tradition takes place, the famous Fields of Athenry 10k, which is also in its 14th year, kicking off at 11am.

Over the last number of years this has become one of the leading road races in the country, attracting many of Irelands top runners and is being held on its now traditional route, finishing under the medieval arch in Athenry.

The race has sold out for the last few years, and 2014 saw a record number of finishers with 1152 crossing the line.It is likely last years winners Norah Pieterse of Mayo AC and Irish international Mick Clohisey of Raheny Shamrocks will defend their titles again this year, with top local challenges expected from in-form athletes such as Matt Bidwell, Jason Broderick, Gerry Carty and Jane Ann Meehan.

Entry to the Fields race is €20, online only, with race headquarters at the Presentation College in the town.

East Galway AC four mile

The fifth annual East Galway AC four mile was held Sunday over a challenging course.

In a strong field, Fergal Walsh of Athenry AC was the first home in 23.35, after a close finish with Tuam AC’s Derek Naughton, who was just four seconds behind in 23.39. Michael Keating was in third in 23.48.

The women's winner was Esther O'Flaherty of GCH in a time of 26.43, with Anne Marie Miskell of Tuam second, and Mary Kealy of Athenry AC third. Tuam AC took both mens and women’s team prizes.

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