Put Armagh in your post-Christmas programme

Armagh Road Races

If you go to Armagh a couple of months after Christmas you could be forgiven for thinking that the festive season is still in full swing, for on the evening of Thursday 20 February the people of Armagh in Northern Ireland will bring out all of their Christmas lights again to light up the mall for the participants of the Brooks Armagh International Road Race. The race is run around the 1km road loop that makes up  the mall in the town centre. The women run three laps and the men do either three or five, depending on the level you want to race at.

It is clear to see that the sport of running is at the heart of this city and the name Armagh is derived from its running history.

Legend says that Macha was the wife of Chronn son of Adhnaman who made the mistake of boasting about what a fantastic runner his wife was. He claimed she could run faster than the horses of Conchubhar, King of Ulster. On the pain of instant death for this perceived insult to the king, Macha was forced, despite being pregnant, to make good her husband's boast and had to run against the king's horses. According to the story she won easily, but so great was the effort required that on crossing the line she gave birth to a son and daughter and died almost immediately afterwards. The children became known as the Twins of Macha, or in Irish, Eamhain Macha, from which came eventually the anglicised placename, Armagh.

The Armagh International Road Races, now in their 24th year, are organised by Armagh Athletics Club. The slick running of the programme contibutes to the excitement and atmosphere around the mall as runners of all ages and abilities speed around the mall in a series of 12 races that start at 6.30pm with the children's races before moving on to the International Women's 3k, International Men's 5k and finish with the Men's Open 3km at 8.20pm. The course is flat, fast and furious giving runners the chance to run personal best times.

For more information contact johnbvallely@gmail.com

Go onto our facebook page and tell us which licensed* spring road race you will put in your programme and why for the chance to win Sennheiser headphones.

*licensed by UKA, Athletics Northern Ireland, Scottish Athletics or Welsh Athletics.