Portadown Festival of Running: when and where it's happening, road closures and who to look out for

Final preparations are being put in place for the biggest ever Portadown Festival of Running, being held on Sunday, March 24.
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The Portadown Running Club event has grown in size and reputation to attract its largest entry ever with 1,100 runners taking part. Places were sold out fast such was the demand and the waiting list is also full.

The event is even setting the stage for a potential Guinness World Record for the fastest half marathon by a runner dressed as a scientist.

Keen long-distance runner Stephen Cochrane, a reader in Organic Chemistry at Queen's University Belfast, is combining his passion for running and science by attempting the unusual challenge.

Both the half marathon and 10K will start and finish at Portadown Rugby Football Club.

The half marathon starts at 9am in The Batch (rugby club side) while the 10K starts at 9,30am at the Edenderry church side.

Local residents and motorists are reminded of road closures during the event:

  • Bridge Street, Carrickblacker and Gilford Road (out of town direction) from 8.30am until 10.15am.
  • In Gilford on Wall Road / Madden Road and then on the return leg rrom Shillington's to Asda until 12pm.
Taking part in the 2023 Portadown Festival of Running. Picture: Tony HendronTaking part in the 2023 Portadown Festival of Running. Picture: Tony Hendron
Taking part in the 2023 Portadown Festival of Running. Picture: Tony Hendron

Traffic management and marshals will be in place and Portadown Running Club has been in touch with local churches.

Race director Janine Maher urged road-users to follow the diversion signs and instructions from the race marshals.

She said the club will operate on a rolling release basis and will endeavor to reopen the roads as runners have passed by.

The event is also likely to attract many supporters of those taking part and Janine encouraged local people to also get involved in the spirit of the occasion.

The 10K route. Picture: GoogleThe 10K route. Picture: Google
The 10K route. Picture: Google

“We would love to see as many people out along the route to cheer on the runners,” she said.

“Portadown Boat Club, Ground cafe, Bann Bridge or Portadown Rugby Club would be great points to cheer people on at they make their way the finish line inside Chambers Park.”

Janine said the event aims “to promote our town, local businesses that support our event, inspiring people to be active and to have a successful race and donate any profits to local charity”.

In 2023, a fabulous £2,500 was donated to the Southern Area Hospice and this year the event will support the Northern Ireland Cancer Fund for Children as well as Craigavon Samaritans.

The half marathon route. Picture: GoogleThe half marathon route. Picture: Google
The half marathon route. Picture: Google

Among those taking part in the Festival of Running will be Team Kerr, a running family from Co Down consisting of dad David, mum Sandra and son Aaron, a full-time wheelchair user.

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In pictures: Portadown Festival of Running attracts hundreds of participants

They run as a family and have completed every single one of their races together with the goal of promoting inclusion and see assisted running become a common sight in road races throughout the country.

Portadown Running Club said they were “over the moon” to welcome Team Kerr to the 2024 festival as they train for this year’s TCS London Marathon.

"Aaron along with his mum and dad, Sandra and David have ran over 50 marathons and are regulars on the local running scene. Team Kerr campaigned for years to allow assisted runners take part in the London Marathon, and successfully made history in 2022, through their grit and hard work, assisted runners are now able to apply for a spot in the London Marathon.”