Author and retired BBC sports broadcaster Richie Kelly was back in the public eye this week when he was at the Foyle Arena to launch the Dental Solutions 5K Classic.
The race is organised by Derry Track Club and goes ahead on Friday, April 15.
Richie Kelly’s voice was synonymous with sport in Derry and beyond for more than 30 years but, since his retirement from Radio Foyle last year, he has been busy mulling over ideas for a follow up to his very successful book, ‘Sporting Greats of the Northwest’.
That book included chapters on a number of well-known athletes including Olympic marathoners Danny McDaid and Tommy Hughes as well as World Championships steeplechaser Peter McColgan.
However, the former Radio Foyle man has an ulterior motive in promoting the race – he is planning to run in it as well. Despite fast approaching his 75th birthday, Kelly is a familiar figure at the Derry City park-run and other local 5K races.
“I’ll be entering a new age group in May,” said the former Finn Harps defender. “So, I’ll be using the race to get fit for the Northern Ireland Masters’ Championships in June and, hopefully, the national Masters’ in August.”
The race also sees a change of venue from Eglinton to the Foyle Arena in Derry’s Waterside. The race once again will have chip-timing with every entrant receiving a bespoke gymsack and customised race beanie hat. A one-kilometre race for U14s has also been added to the programme and will precede the feature race.
“We’re hoping to build on the success of last year’s inaugural event in Eglinton,” said Derry Track Club chairman Cathal McLaughlin. “We’ve mapped out a fast route around the centre of the city including crossing both Craigavon Bridge (lower deck) and Peace Bridge. We’re also pleased to have the use of the Foyle Arena thanks to manager Adrian Boyle.”
Dental Solutions proprietor Ciaran Gillan has again generously stepped in to sponsor the race. Gillan, who has strong ties with Slaughtneil GAC, is happy to be associated with the event for the second year.
“We were delighted with how the race went last year and we’re happy to help promote activities that improve health and wellbeing,” said the Maghera man.