Donegal Half Marathon gears up for 2024 event with focus on women’s participation

This year’s Donegal Half Marathon, which will be held in association with the Kernan Retail Group, will take place on Sunday, August 25th in Letterkenny.

The 2024 event was launched in Kernan’s Bistro at Letterkenny Retail Park on Friday, March 8th.

In his welcoming address, Donegal Half Marathon Chairman, Myles Sweeney, said it was fitting that the launch was being held on International Women’s Day and during Women In Sport Week.

“We have been coordinating a lot of women’s events over the past week across Donegal and we are trying to get even more women involved in this year’s Donegal Half Marathon,” the Donegal Sports Partnership Coordinator commented.

“The Donegal Half Marathon is a longstanding event and the brainchild of the late Dessie Larkin. We’re delighted to have Mary here with us who is on the organising committee and representing the Larkin family. Dessie was a great friend of the marathon and a great friend of sport. He was really committed to sport in Donegal and his legacy lives on now through the Donegal Half Marathon. We have kept it a community marathon and it has really blossomed over the last ten years. It is very much the people’s marathon as Dessie rightly called it at the time,” the chairman said.

Helen McCready, senior women’s winner of the 2023 Donegal Half Marathon, Mary Larkin, Donegal Half Marathon Committee and Chantelle Grant, General Manager of Century Complex and Donegal Half Marathon Committee

Pointing out that many groups and organisations contribute to the success of the Donegal Half Marathon, he continued: “Kernan’s, Optum, Letterkenny CDP, Red Cross, the Gardai, Century Cinemas, Donegal Volunteer Centre, Red Cross, Donegal County Council, Fáilte Ireland, Watson Hire and Highland Bakery all play their part in making it such a great spectacle. We are grateful for the support we get from everyone and are also very appreciative of the DFI grant from Donegal County Council. We thank the members for their ongoing support.”

“Without the volunteers we wouldn’t have a half marathon. John Curran and his team at the Donegal Volunteer Centre provide us with a lot of support. It’s also good to see Neily McDaid here. Neily is the chief steward and along with Gerard McGinley they look after the marshalling end of things which is so important. A lot of work goes into the event every year. We have a good and hardworking committee, and we never seem to fall out which is good,” he added.

“Over the last few years, we have been working closely with Fáilte Ireland to highlight iconic sites in Donegal along the Wild Atlantic Way. Over the last three years, we’ve used Malin Head, Sliabh Liag and Fanad Lighthouse on our t-shirts and on our medals. This year we are staying local, and the point selected is the New Mills Corn and Flax Mills located next to the home of our ambassador, Danny McDaid,” Mr. Sweeney said.

Donegal Half Marathon Ambassador, Danny McDaid

Speaking at the launch, Danny McDaid said: “I suppose we don’t shout enough about the history we have on our doorstep like the flax mills at New Mills. I don’t think it’s being pushed enough and it’s up to people like us to promote it more. There will be up to 500 medals with the image of the flax mills at New Mills as its centrepiece handed out on race day and I think they will be a collector’s item and invaluable in the years to come.”

“Dessie always referred to the race as the people’s marathon and I’m sure he would have been excited about New Mills being part of the event, given that he lived out there and that his family roots are in the Glenswilly and New Mills area,” the race ambassador added.

Mayor of Letterkenny and Milford Municipal District, Cllr Kevin Bradley

Mayor of the Letterkenny-Milford Municipal District, Cllr Kevin Bradley, who started the 2023 Donegal Half Marathon, described the event as brilliant.

“It’s a very, very good event and everyone competing was excited to be part of it all last year,” he commented.

Urging people to visit the flax mills at New Mills, Cllr Bradley added: “It’s a fantastic tourist attraction and it’s free to visit. It’s great to see the Donegal Half Marathon going from strength to strength, and it’s nice that Mary is here and carrying on the good work started by Dessie.”

Donegal County Councillors, Donal Coyle and Ciaran Brogan.

Speaking on behalf of Kernan’s, Damien Daly said: “It’s a privilege to be involved. It’s six years now since we got the phone call from Dessie and we couldn’t say ‘no’. It has grown from then. It’s a community event we can all look forward to over the next six months. We help the Finn Harps Academy and a number of GAA clubs around the county, and this type of community event is the perfect fit for us. On a personal note, I want to thank Cathal Curran on behalf of Kernan’s for what he does for this event and other events outside of his working day. Thanks also to the committee for their ongoing efforts.”

Helen McCready, winner of the Donegal Half Marathon in 2022 and 2023, told the launch that she ran the marathon when the event was first held ten years ago in conjunction with the half marathon.

“That was such a memorable day,” the Rosses AC runner said.

This year’s race will have a 9.20 am start.

To enter, follow the link:

To access the QR code, visit:

Donegal Half Marathon gears up for 2024 event with focus on women’s participation was last modified: March 13th, 2024 by Staff Writer

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