For the first time since its inception in 2010, the Mayo.ie Western People West of Ireland Women’s Mini-Marathon is making its way to Ballina.
Preparations are already well underway for the event, which will be held on the Mayo Bank Holiday Sunday, April 30, and is being brought to the North Mayo capital for the first time as part of the Ballina 2023 celebrations, the year-long programme of events and festivities taking place to mark the 300th anniversary of the town.
The 10km route for the Mini-Marathon (pictured below) has been carefully planned out and designed to showcase some of Ballina’s most significant historic and cultural monuments, and to present the town in the best possible light for participants in the Mini-Marathon who may be visiting Ballina for the first time.
The route can be seen on Google Maps at: https://www.google.com/maps/d/edit?mid=1zXm3X8dEDm4ZNrHCCvLnTyRi5-GXpxY&usp=sharing
The route has been a collaborative effort amongst the organisers, with the particular insight and expertise of the town’s two athletics clubs, Ballina AC and Moy Valley AC, having proven invaluable in the organising process.
The Mini-Marathon will begin at Market Square and head down Tone Street and Tolan Street before turning up Emmet Street, passing the Mary Robinson Centre on the left.
It will then turn right over the Lower Bridge and right again up Cathedral Road, passing St Muredach’s Cathedral on the left.
It then crosses the Moy again via the Ham Bridge, before turning left up Barrett Street and away from the town centre.
From there it moves up past the Arts Centre, right up the hill of James Road, and right again down Kevin Barry Street. From there, there are fewer twists and turns. It’s a straight shot down past the two sets of lights and through the roundabout to head out the Killala Road.
The 3km mark is crossed just before Leigue Cemetery and the route continues out beyond the Merry Monk before eventually turning right again in towards Belleek.
The halfway point is just before Belleek Castle, and from there it’s a right turn down through the Woods and back towards the town along the riverbank, passing the Ballina Town FC and the athletic track along the way.
It turns right at the Gate Lodge, back into the town centre via Castle Road and Nally Street, turning right at the Council Offices and right again at the roundabout, heading back up Humbert Street. The Humbert Memorial marks the 8km point and the last two kilometers will again take runners around the town’s streets, which are sure to be lined with well-wishers willing the participants across the line.
The route then turns right up Bohernasup – which translates to ‘Road of the Straw’, so-named because it was along this road that the people of Ballina lit straw torches to guide Humbert’s French troops into the town in 1798 – and joins up with the Killala Road once again.
From there, it’s a final 1km dash back in towards the town centre, back through the roundabout and along to the finishing line just outside theoffices on Tone Street.