IN collaboration with local school children the organisers of this year’s annual Greencastle5 have decided to do their bit for the environment.
Those behind the traditional St Stephen’s Day run consulted with pupils of Our Lady Of Lourdes PS and came up with the idea of using biodegradable cartons and cups in providing water for athletes on race day itself.
Our Lady of Lourdes received Green Flag status earlier this year and Patricia McElduff, who was involved in the initiative, said that the children and teachers at the school cared deeply about the environment.
“Our pupils are very keen to keep the primary school and surrounding areas of Greencastle litter free,” she said.
“As part of this the pupils of the committee suggested we approach the organisers of the Greencastle five mile road run to discuss what measures could be taken to reduce waste.
“We were delighted that in collaboration with organisers it has been decided to use biodegradable water cartons which will help to greatly reduce the amount of waste normally associated with an event of this magnitude.
“The initiative is one of the first at such an event and it complements the school’s Green Flag credentials.”
Planning for the 34th running of this year’s popular festive event will continue right up until January 26th when again hundreds of runners are expected to descend on the Tyrone village.
Chief organiser Oliver McCullagh said format of the event is similar to recent years with runners setting off at 12 noon, some 10 minutes after wheelchair competitors and approximately an hour and half after walkers leave the start line.
Mr McCullagh is encouraging those taking part to entry on line.
“On-line entry is preferred because it makes life so much easier for organisers and athletes alike,” he said.
“Entries will continue to be taken on the morning of the event itself and we hope that everything goes well and everyone has an enjoyable day
“The main thing from our point of view is that we don’t have to call for a snow plough!”
The flagship sponsors for this year’s event are O’Kane Plumbing and Electrical and PJ McCrory Contracts while protein milk supplied by Strathroy Dairies will be available as athletes cross the finish line.
Another unique feature is that the goody bag presented to all participants will contain a pack of four fresh free range eggs supplied by Fenella’s Farm, based in Cookstown.
“There is no better source of protein and they will be freshly supplied. I’m delighted Fenella Turkington, Cooktsown is on board,” added Oliver.
Many of the top athletes in the country are once again expected to compete at Greencastle, which last year was won by North Belfast Harrier Mark McKinstry in a time of 24 minutes and 42 seconds.
Conor Duffy, Glaslough Harriers and Paddy Robb, St Malachy’s AC completed the podium positions with Acorns AC competitor Eoin Hughes the best of the locals.
In the ladies’ race Emma Mitchell stormed home in 28.28 ahead of Olympians Breege Connolly, City of Derry AC Spartans, who finished second in 28.52 and Catriona Jennings, third in 29.41. Monies raised at this year’s event will go to Our Lady Of Lourdes PS and the Green Elves Playgroup. For more information go to www.greencastle5.com, check out Facebook or contact Oliver McCullagh on 07767 718029.