THE second annual Offaly Athletics endurance road race series will begin soon, with four big races providing a great source of competition for runners.
The Offaly Running Challenge comprises of four races, one a month, culminating in overall county champions being declared in senior ranks and various age categories.
It took place for the first time last year and proved to be extremely poplar with hundreds of athletes competing.
Athletes must compete in all four races to qualify for an overall prize – the categories are: seniors, over 40, 45, 50 and 60. The best combined time of the four races will be the overall winners.
There has been a great boom in road running in Offaly athletics in recent years. The annual 5k road race series is currently in progress and the endurance one is aimed at the many who prefer longer distances.
It commences on Friday, May 24 with the Killeigh 4 mile, starting at Killeigh GAA Club at 7.30pm – this race is also for the Offaly novice and masters title.
The 10k has switched this year from Ballinagar to Mountbolus, home of the very popular Marian Geraghty 10k. It has a new flat route in Mountbolus this year and takes place on Friday, June 14 from the GAA pitch at 7.30pm.
The Edenderry 10 mile, now part of the Kia road race series, is on Sunday. July 21 from St Mary's Secondary School at 9.30am.
The series will conclude on Saturday, August 31 with the annual Tullamore Harriers half marathon, starting at 11.00am.
The Mountbolus, Edenderry and Tullamore races are also for Offaly county championship titles while the Tullamore Half Marathon incorporates the Leinster championship.
There are individual prizes for each race and people from outside the county and not affiliated to athletics clubs can enter but can't win the county titles.
The race series is perfect for those preparing for the Dublin marathon in October or earlier foreign marathons.