Next Tuesday night (April 11th) the roads will be awash with runners as the increasingly popular Ballymena Belles 5-Mile Race returns for its fifth year.
Organised by Ballymena Runners, the Belles is a ladies only event taking place on the outskirts of the town, encompassing a picturesque route around the village of Galgorm, and has fast become a staple of the local racing calendar.
Long since sold out (registration is closed), entrants can collect their race packs from 5:30pm on the day of the event at the Galgorm Community Centre, Raphael Way, Galgorm. Parking and changing facilities are also available on site. Remember to check ballymenarunners.org for any last minute information eg: cancellation in the event of severe weather.
The 350-strong field set off at 7pm. The first finishers are expected back just over half-an-hour later with 2016 winner Cathy McCourt returning to defend her title, the Jean Gould Memorial Trophy. Also, this year, there is a team prize on offer for whatever club has the first six ladies home.
But this is one event that really is all about the taking part.
Graduates of Ballymena Runners' well attended Cosy Sofa programmes, one held most recently either side of Christmas, often target the Belles event as the next milestone in their burgeoning running career and this really adds to not only the fun element but the community spirit on the night.
And there's no need for the men to feel left out either. The event couldn't take place without the invaluable assistance of an army of volunteers so why not come along, help out and encourage the ladies every step of the way? You can even dress up if you like!!! Contact Emma Donnelly (07540-645275) or Lynn Tennant (07703-752053) who will no doubt find a job for you to do on the night!
The event this year is supporting the Cancer Fund for Children. A proportion of entry fee has been donated to the cause, while the organisers are extremely grateful to sponsors Exclusive Beauty Broughshane, Woodsides Pharmacy, Michelin, Cameron Steele Physio, NI Water, Flossies Treats, Eagle Restaurant and Pro-form nutrition for their generous backing.