Thousands get ready to run the streets this weekend

Radisson Blu Streets of Galway 8K 2016 - race preview

Galway’s biggest road-race takes place this weekend, as the 2016 event sees the 31st running of the iconic Streets of Galway 8K road-race. The Galway City Harriers' organized event, which is sponsored this year by the Radisson Blu Hotel and Spa Galway, takes place on Saturday August 6 at 7pm. This year the race will have 3,000 participants with many top Irish athletes competing including some Irish internationals and top local road runners as well as thousands of fun runners and joggers.

The race itself starts as usual at School Road on the junction of Fr Griffin Road and Fr Burke Road [directly outside the entrance to the Galway Technical Institute] and the finish is in Southpark, Claddagh. The 8km route takes in all the city highlights, winding through the city-centre and out into the Salthill suburbs, before returning on the roads along the coast-line to Southpark in the Claddagh. All of the most famous landmarks in the city are taken in on en-route including the Spanish Arch, Eyre Square, NUIG, the Cathedral, and the Salthill promenade, making it a superb way to see the city by foot, and thousands line the route to see friends and family run the Streets each year!

Number collection for those registered is at the Claddagh hall, South Park, Claddagh, and is from 2pm to 8pm Friday and 9pm to 4pm Saturday. Confirmation email must be brought to collect number and race T-shirt. Parking on a limited basis is available at the Hall on Friday and on the Grattan Road prom on Friday and Saturday. Entries will close in advance of race day, but can still be made via online race-registration partners, ACTIVE.com [until August 2] and limited entries to the race can be taken at the Claddagh hall on Friday only.

This year’s event has a prize-fund of more than €25,000, many category prizes are open to master’s athletes and team prizes in both the men’s and women’s races.

The race committee spends six months planning and organizing the race and much help is provided by race sponsors, the Radisson Blu Hotel and Spa, as well as the Gardai, Galway city council, and suppliers, without whom the race would not go ahead. The longevity and success of the race also owes much to the original founders, the first committee of Jack Mahon, Mick Roche (race director ), and co, of Cospoir, whose stalwart work from 1986 on established the race as one of the 'must do' events each year in the city. GCH took on the organisation of the growing event in 1991, with Oliver and Teresa Geraghty, PJ Coyle, Brian Geraghty, Danny Carr, and others among the driving forces behind the famous city athletics club involvement.

There have been many famous winners down through the years, including Olympians Paul Donovan, Rosemary Ryan [the women’s record-holder at 26.01], Mark Kenneally, and joint men’s record holders Seamus Power and Josphat Boit [the men's race record is currently set at 22.49]. Rosemary Ryan with six titles and Paul Donovan with four wins top the women's and men’s leaderboards respectively.

This year's field is again a high quality one and includes a host of current and former national champions at various racing distances, including a very strong ladies field including Irish internationals Caroline Crowley of Crusaders, Laura Shaughnessy DSD, and Siobhan O Doherty, top men including Northern Irish runners Andrew Annett, Lindsay Gordon, and Seamus Lynch, club athletes from Crusaders AC and Sportsworld AC in Dublin including Vinnie McGuinness, Phil Kilgannon, and Ger Forde, regular prize winners Brian Murphy, Ennis Track, Davy Byrne of Clonliffe, and masters international Pat Byrne Tinryland AC, and a swathe of Galway's elite road-runners such as GCH athletes Joe Tannian, Regina Casey, and the legendary Christine Kennedy now back with GCH, all of whom will battle it out on the fast and flat course for top honours in 2016.

The field also includes three notable ever presents – those who have run in every race to date, namely Patrick Larkin (Moycullen ), Gerard Murphy (Clare River Harriers ), and Gerard Meehan (Dooneen AC ) who return for the 31st time to the start line of the Streets.

The race attracts many Galwegians young and old who take on the distance as a challenge or to try to beat their previous year's time, as well as to run alongside top local and national athletes and always creates a great atmosphere throughout the city on the evening of the event.

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