Belfast Telegraph

Paralympic champion Michael McKillop delighted to launch the ‘friendliest 5k’ in Mallusk

By David Ross

Double Paralympic gold medallist Michael McKillop is backing the launch of a new five-mile road race.

The Mallusk Harriers event is running on Friday from the Academy Club, Mallusk, near McKillop’s Newtownabbey home.

The club, which started with just a handful of members in 2010, now boasts a 90-strong club, training three times a week.

As well as running a popular Couch to 5k programme, it has entered members into the Belfast, Dublin and London marathons and experimented with its first five-mile road race last year. It now plans to make this an annual event.

McKillop said he hoped to come along himself and cheer on the runners of this all-ability club.

“As a local athlete I was delighted to come along and help Mallusk Harriers launch their race,” he said. “I know it’s a challenging but enjoyable five-mile course. I hope lots of local runners register and come along and sample some of the club’s famous hospitality.”

Alex Davidson, from the club, said they hoped to make the Mallusk Five-Mile Road Race the friendliest race in Northern Ireland.

“Mallusk village has suffered hugely in recent years with environmental pollution and the ongoing uncertainty regarding planning permission for a massive incinerator,” he said. “We are glad to be able to show Mallusk in a more positive light. At last year’s event we had competitors from throughout Northern Ireland compete in our village.

“As for the route itself we like to describe it as flat — except for the big hill.

“We were delighted that Michael McKillop took time out of his busy training schedule to help us launch the race. Everyone was quite taken with his gold medals from the 2012 London Games.”

 “We are indebted to the event sponsors Wilsons Auctions, who have ensured we can finance the costs involved in holding the event and to our club sponsors Chain Reaction Cycles who have provided the goody bags that will be given to all our runners.”

Amy McCourt, from Wilsons Auctions, said they were delighted to throw their weight behind the race.

“The Harriers are a local club who are keen to promote the local area, Not only have we been able to support the race financially but we will have a few of our employees running on the night.”

The race starts at 7.30pm on Friday and registration is online at the Athletics NI website.

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