The runners from North Belfast Harriers staged a virtual circuit of Ireland from 4-10 May in support of local food banks. The aim was to complete a combined total of 1972 miles, the official Ordnance Survey length of the coastline of the island of Ireland.
The club pledged £300 for donations to local food banks for completing the challenge.
The virtual run started at the NBH clubhouse in Oldpark Terrace with over 100 participants registered to take part. Adhering at all times to the current social distancing guidelines, each runner logged their own, local runs to a Strava group so that overall progress could be monitored, and the aim was to complete the 1972 miles within one week.
Progress was rapid and by the end of day 1, the total was 405 miles, covering the coastline from Belfast, heading northwards via Larne, Ballycastle and Portrush before crossing the border at Muff and reaching Bunbeg. On day 2 the run passed through Glenties, Killybegs, Donegal Town, Sligo, Ballina, Westport, Clifden and on to Galway, ending up at Miltown Malbay, bringing the overall total to 878 miles. On day 3 the run headed to Kilrush and up the Shannon Estuary into Limerick before turning west again and heading to Listowel and Tralee before embarking on a circuit of the beautiful Ring of Kerry. Overnighting in Bantry Co. Cork, the overall total was now 1306 miles. Day 4 headed towards Crookhaven before turning back to Skibbereen, Clonakilty, Kinsale, and then into Cork City, Youghal, Waterford and finally Rosslare, before heading north to Wexford, Arklow, Wicklow Town, Bray and Dublin, finally to overnight at Bettystown.
The virtual tour was completed on day 5 as the run progressed through Drogheda, Castlebellingham and Dundalk, then Carlingford, Newry, Warrenpoint, Kilkeel, Newcastle, Tyrella, Ardglass, Strangford, Killyleagh, Ards, Greyabbey, Portaferry, Donaghadee, Bangor, Hollywood and back to the NBH clubhouse in Belfast.
Of course the runners didn’t stop there and by the close of the challenge at the end of day 7 the overall total mileage was a spectacular 3141 miles.
Following the success of their virtual tour of Ireland, the harriers will next embark on a virtual tour of Europe, starting on Mon 11th May.