Whitehead Easter Road Race: 100 organisations get behind centenary and Team Cup returns

The business and wider community are throwing their support behind a milestone celebration of Whitehead’s Easter Road Race.
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Whitehead Community Association has sought sponsorship pledges from 100 local organisations to mark the centenary of Ireland’s longest-standing road race. And the response has been generous with the organisers well on course for their target.

A Community Association spokesperson said: “The Road Race is the longest standing road race in Northern Ireland. It has taken place during the Second World War, throughout the Troubles and the Covid 19 pandemic.

"This year 100 local businesses have pledged to sponsor the 2024 event and to help the community host this race for many years to come. To celebrate this, we will be championing our generous sponsors daily on social media. Any business wishing to sponsor the event can still contact us via email at [email protected] to get involved.”

The 5-mile road race gets underway in Easter 2014. Pic: National WorldThe 5-mile road race gets underway in Easter 2014. Pic: National World
The 5-mile road race gets underway in Easter 2014. Pic: National World

Easter 2024 will see the reintroduction of the Team Cup after many years absence.

"The cup used to be awarded to the team with the highest number of placings in the race and was hotly contested each year. In the lead up to his year’s centenary event we searched all the harriers clubs to locate the lost trophy, sadly without success. So we have purchased a new cup to mark the 100th race and are reintroducing the team event on the day.”

In keeping with the April 1 race date, the organisers are also planning a fun-themed children’s event.

Meanwhile, they have asked Whitehead History Group to create a slideshow of race photographs and a short history guide. Contributions are welcome - email project co-ordinator Steve Diamond at [email protected].

A visiting club celebrated success in the event in the 1946-47 season. Photo provided by Whitehead Community Association.A visiting club celebrated success in the event in the 1946-47 season. Photo provided by Whitehead Community Association.
A visiting club celebrated success in the event in the 1946-47 season. Photo provided by Whitehead Community Association.
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Whitehead Road Race draws club runners and individuals of all ages and abilities from all over the island to the town on Easter Monday to tackle the five-mile course or join the fun run.

As well as the kudos of participating in such a long-established race, there’s a chance to enjoy the historic town and the surrounding area which boasts attractions including the seafront promenade, Blackhead Path and Whitehead Railway Museum.

The hardworking Community Association is also responsible for the annual Victorian Street Fair, which features entertainers and stalls in the build up to Christmas. In summer it puts together a two-week programme of events including live music, food festival and competitions.