By Mark Higgins
Every February, Ballinrobe comes alive with athletes from all over Ireland flocking to the South Mayo town to participate in one of the longest-standing duathlons in the country. Now in its 11th year, the Ballinrobe Duathlon is still going from strength to strength.
This year’s run-bike-run event takes place on Sunday, February 9, and will be the third race in the four-legged Bridge Signs Ireland West Duathlon series.
The aim in the inauguration of the Ballinrobe Duathlon was to create a race that was suitable for all abilities, from novices to elite-level athletes. To date, over 3600 participants have taken to the start line at the top of Bridge St.
Due to the range of competitors taking part, this event has something for everyone. For some, it’s about bragging rights over other local club mates, for others the goal is simply to complete the course, and for a select few, it’s all about crossing that finish line first.
This year organisers have introduced a new element to the event for the best-placed family team in the race to find Ballinrobe’s Fittest Family for 2020. The only criteria for entry is that team members are all related and have at least one female on the team.
For the third year running, McHale’s Engineering is the main sponsors for the event and organisers are delighted to have an internationally-recognised company as the title sponsor. McHale’s are also one of the biggest employers in South Mayo. The company has set high standards for themselves globally and organiser are expecting a great show this year, with over 400 athletes set to participate.
So whether you’d like to participate, or help out on the day, or just support the participants on the day, everyone is more than welcome.
Event organiser Padraig Marrey of Raceface Events said: “Outdoor training and events have really taken off the past few years. Our course offers participants a flat, fast 5k run, a super- fast bike course and scenic last run on the beautiful Bowers riverside walk.”
Paul McHale of McHale’s Engineering said: “It’s great to sponsor such a landmark event as the Ballinrobe Duathlon. Any event that helps promote fitness and showcase what the town has to offer as a destination is great for the whole community.
“The company even have their own corporate team in the four-event series”.
The event is also supported by Vaughan Shoes, while Chia Bia will give all participants a nutritious pack of their chia seeds. HB Ice cream will have everyone feeling chilled happy and relaxed with their beautiful tasting ice cream. Each sponsor promotes healthy living and outdoor activity.
Running these events wouldn’t be possible without support from Mayo County Council, Ballinrobe Tidy Towns, Western Lakes CC, Hollymount Wheelers, Ballinrobe Scouts, The Lakeside Sports and Fitness Club, Ballinrobe CDC, the town management and traders, the RSA, Core Timing, the Order of Malta and www.raceface.ie.