Derry 10 Miler 2024


Walled City Race Report 10.3.24 by Fiona Teague

It seemed like a great idea back in November- the Walled City 10-mile race. Some of us hadn’t run further than a GR8 Dundrum Run since completing the Nice Half in 2019. Loads of time to get the miles up before March. Of course, it ended up as, trying to increase our miles from the usual 6 to 10 over these last few weeks. Interest was growing. Some Club members had already signed up, others joined in. Those that had run it before assured us we would be fine. But enquiries about the route led to mutterings about a bridge. Which bridge? The Foyle Bridge! At training, Derry native Nicola recounted tales of runners in tears on the bridge! To reassure us, another Derry native, David Hynes, posted a step-by-step account of the race which proved very beneficial.

Derry Run Map

It’s a big race (1582 completed it). Despite being called the Walled City race, it was a surprisingly urban route until the last 3 miles. It starts and ends at the running track in St Columbs park- handy for those coming from Belfast. Runners remained quite packed through the park and along the train line until we reached the grounds of Gransha Hospital and headed out into the countryside. Thankfully we had reached 4.5 miles by the time we circled back round to the start of the bridge. Yes, it was hard (1.5 miles from roundabout to roundabout) but the worst bit was coming off the bridge, heading up to the roundabout.

The subsequent long downhill past the goats and horses were great but made the last flat 3 miles seem harder. Only a parkrun to go! The installation of the new Pennyburn Bridge meant a return along Strand Road this year rather than the Quayside. Apparently, this led to traffic chaos in the city but it didn’t affect the runners. The whole course had been cleared for us with plenty of enthusiastic, encouraging marshals. Despite their efforts we had to dodge the tourists on the Peace Bridge but by this stage we could hear the tannoy from the finish line, ever so close.

We never actually managed to get all the BCR runners together in one place for a photo, but we think that 13 of us actually made it to the start line. Luckily Maureen McHugh, ruled out of the race due to a fractured foot, was on hand as official photographer as we crested the last little hill into the track.

First in was local boy, David Hynes with an excellent time of 1.06.34. Davy Hanna and Mark Rocks were 2nd and 3rd. First lady (and 4th in her age category!!) was coach Eileen Dillon followed by local Nicola Dooher. With a minute between them in romped Elish McColgan, Marie-Louise Connolly, Rowena Fair and Louise McAree. Nicole McKeever, Tommy Cheng, Fiona Teague and Glenn Adair finished the BRC line up.

Derry 10 Miler Medal

Then there was the medal! Apparently, it is the biggest medal for a road race in Ireland, and proved to be a talking point in the pub. All participants also received a good quality bright green t-shirt.

Once we caught our breath, several of us headed to the Blackbird pub for some refreshments. On route we met Des Reid with Aaron and Carol Hill, fresh from Buncrana parkrun. Another one for the bucket list, they reported it was a small friendly run with a Zumba warm up!

The Blackbird did not disappoint, and we had plenty of time for a full post run analysis!
Thanks to Aaron and David for the drinks and after a bite to eat, some wearily headed back to Belfast. However, five of us headed to the new 4 star Ebrington Hotel for the night. Plenty of time for a trip to the Spa and to watch the rugby (1 point!!). We recuperated with a lovely meal in the Walled City Brewery gastropub next door.

Blackbird Pub

A great weekend, a lovely race, great craic with club mates. Strongly recommend it. Everyone we met in Derry were friendly and welcoming. Lulls you into a false sense of security so you start looking at other 10 milers and even Half Marathons!!
And of course, the obligatory photo with the mural!