NEW location set for Northern Ireland International Cross-Country
24 August 2018
Northern Ireland’s top athletes will go head-to-head against an abundance of international talent as Athletics Northern Ireland host its annual IAAF permitted International Cross-Country Race on 19th January 2019.
First staged in 1977, the event is now onto its 42nd year and is set to be staged at the scenic Billy Neill Centre, Dundonald (previously held at Greenmount, Antrim). Supported by Lisburn & Castlereagh City Council, this prestigious event is 1 of only 12 IAAF permitted cross-country events held throughout the year, and the only one in Ireland.
Over its 42-year history, the event has attracted the world’s best runners to Northern Ireland which, in the past, has included Steve Ovett, Steve Cram, Brendan Foster, Paula Radcliffe and multi World Cross champion Paul Tergat. With athletes expected from all over the globe again, spectators are guaranteed an action-packed day while they watch the some of the fastest males and female runners in the world battle each other. A day not to be missed.
As well as being part of the IAAF cross-country circuit, the meet also forms part of the Home Countries Cross-Country series, and part of the UK Athletics Cross Challenge. With teams from England, Scotland, Wales, Ireland and NI/Ulster all competing, in addition to the International stars, this provides excellent competitive opportunities for local clubs in all age groups to compete at a very high level within home nations.
There will also be a full programme of supporting races from primary schools age upwards for both boys and girls. This attracts large entries of youngsters which gives them the opportunity to compete on the same programme as Olympic and World Championship competitors.
Chairman of Lisburn & Castlereagh City Council’s Leisure & Community Development Committee, Alderman Paul Porter, commented;
“Lisburn & Castlereagh City Council is delighted that the annual International Cross-Country Race will take place at the Billy Neill Centre for the first time. To host a major International Athletic event in our area will allow residents and visitors to see top quality athletes of all ages compete and also experience at first-hand the high-quality sporting facilities we are proud of and are continuing to develop. It is a welcome addition to our sporting calendar and will have positive impact for tourism and the local economy. The Council is pleased to be supporting this event which is one of the 12 most important cross-country events in the world and I would encourage everyone to come along and show your support.”
Athletics NI Chairman, David Seaton MBE, commented;
“Since 1977 Athletics Northern Ireland has, on an annual basis, promoted a major International Cross-Country event in the Province.
Whilst the International events are the main attraction on the day a full menu of races is provided and this allows young athletes from all over the United Kingdom and Ireland to compete over the same terrain and conditions as the more established stars. Athletics Northern Ireland very much appreciates the involvement and assistance of Lisburn & Castlereagh City Council and hopes that this association will be a long and rewarding one for both parties as together we work to deliver top class athletics competition”