Newry firm organises NI’s longest ever road race
History will be made at Titanic Quarter later this year with Northern Ireland’s longest ever road race set to take place.
Organised by Newry sports event management firm 26 Extreme, the TQ Ultra Marathon includes a 50K and 25K run as well as the 101K challenge.
The event has already attracted the attention of elite ultra marathon runners across the globe, with organisers expecting a field of up to 1,000 competitors for the three runs.
The 101K race is being launched this year to commemorate the 101st anniversary of RMS Titanic’s maiden voyage, with the distance set to increase by 1km each year.
Speaking at the launch, Titanic Quarter’s Denise Shields said, “The TQ Ultra Marathon is one of the most exciting additions to the local sporting calendar in recent years and we are delighted that the longest run in Northern Ireland’s history will start and finish in Titanic Quarter.
“Our mixed-use development is earning a reputation as a venue for major sports events, with the TQ 10K, Northern Ireland’s premier 10K road race, the Ulster Rally and the Dash of the Titans already in our portfolio.
“There will be added poignancy in having a 101K run 101 years after RMS Titanic’s maiden voyage and increasing the distance by 1km each year will help maintain the memorial symmetry.
“It will be a great honour for anyone who takes part in Northern Ireland’s first ever run of this distance and I would encourage people to sign up as soon as possible for the 101K, 50K and 25K events.
“As well as being a great sporting occasion, The Titanic Quarter Ultra Marathon will also provide a major boost to the local activity tourism economy.”
The 101K Ultra Marathon will start from Titanic Quarter, with runners setting off at 6am and travelling a coastal route to Millisle.
At that point those taking part in the 50K run will join the runners on the return leg, picking the 25K entrants up at Ballyholme Bay. The event will be an official distance race, certified by Athletics Northern Ireland.
Ian Cumming of 26 Extreme said, “Running has never been so popular and the appetite for ultra marathons – those longer than 50K – is growing as runners look to push the boundaries of endurance.
“We are expecting a strong field for all three distances with runners from as far afield as South Africa having already expressed an interest in taking part. For local runners, meanwhile, being part of what will be a sporting milestone for Northern Ireland will be an added attraction.
“The 101K really will be a ‘Titanic’ challenge in every sense of the word and the Titanic Quarter will provide the ideal backdrop for the start and finish of the event.
“In recent years 26 Extreme has organised over 40 major off road and ultra marathons, such as the Causeway Coast and Mourne Way Ultra Marathons, with some events receiving accreditation as qualifying races for longer trail races in Europe.
“We are confident the Titanic Quarter Ultra Marathon will become a permanent fixture in our calendar.”
The TQ Ultra Marathon will see competitors running on a mixture of terrain, from tarmac paths to gravel trails, and the course involves a series of challenging hills and gradients.
Other ultra marathons on the Northern Ireland calendar include the Mourne Way Marathon and the Causeway Coast Marathon, 85K and 65K respectively.
To enter the Titanic Quarter Ultra Marathon, visit www.26extreme.com. Entries cost £55 for the 101K, £45 for the 50K and £35 for the 25K. The closing date for entry is Thursday, 5th September.
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