Runher Oct 2014: Sense of sisterhood as women enjoy their challenge
It was a day of fitness, fundraising and fun - but above all sisterhood.
Belfast's Titanic Quarter proved the perfect location to launch a new route for the long-running Belfast Telegraph Runher event.
The flat 10k course was a popular walking and running choice for the 1,500 women and girls of all ages who took on the 2014 autumn challenge.
While the runners set off at 2pm – with the help of Lord Mayor Nichola Mallon – the excitement had been building at the Titanic slipways from early yesterday.
Before the ladies got their trainers on, it was the turn of the youngsters who turned out for two events aimed at budding runners which got under way at noon.
Then Fitness Freddie, aka Freddie Kinnersley, appeared in a sign that the main event was about to get under way. Back by popular demand, he was responsible for a high-energy warm-up routine that got the ladies ready for action.
Then there was a burst of energy and colour as Nichola Mallon set the participants on their way, many of them pleased to be facing a flatter course than the daunting hill of Stormont.
The mayor was impressed by the variety of women taking part and praised Runher, which is Northern Ireland's largest female-only race event, for attracting novice runners to the city streets, as well as providing an outlet for the more seasoned runners.
Every woman the Belfast Telegraph spoke to on race day told of the great atmosphere and sense of sisterhood – as well as the chance for fundraising for some truly worthy causes.
The Slipways was just the starting point for a route which took in the developing Titanic Quarter, the Harland and Wolff cranes and Victoria Park via the new Sam Thompson bridge.
Completing 10k is a real achievement and is seen by many of the Runher gang as a building block for fitness and longer races in the future.
Athletics NI chairman David Seaton loves nothing more than learning that hundreds of women across the country are being bitten by the running bug through Runher and is once again encouraging people to register with a running club to provide structure for their new past time as well as opportunities for expert guidance and friendship.
"We are encouraging the girls to sign up to one of the numerous clubs across Northern Ireland," he said.
"You can visit the Athletics NI website to see what is available in your area.
"If you join a club you get great advice and coaching."