The Jog in the Bog returns tomorrow night. Pic by George Sweeney.
This year’s ‘Jog in the Bog’ 5K event is set to be the biggest ever of its kind with over 500 runners expected to participate.
The annual event, which is held in memory of North West Triathlon legend Colm Quigley, returns to the streets of Derry for the first time in three years, and local runners are not missing the opportunity. The support of the Jog in the Bog persisted through two barren covid years with participants from across the globe taking part virtually, and whilst that has opened up a new avenue for those away from home, there is nothing like the real thing, with tonight’s event set to break all kinds of records.
Aisling Hutton of Bogside and Brandywell Health Forum, is the event organisor and she admits that the response from the public has been overwhelming.
“We are expecting 500 plus,” she said. “At the minute we are sitting at 350 people registered and that’s not including those who will register on the night. I think it’s so popular because it’s a local race, something that’s done around the areas that we work, the Bogside, the Brandywell and Bishop Street. I think what the people enjoy the most is that ‘at home’ feeling they have when they run into the Gasyard at the end and our staff is there and they get a bite to eat afterwards, and there’s entertainment for the wains.
“The race is very important and we appreciate that it is very important for the runners, but we also appreciate that we want to bring families together and we want to celebrate the sport of running, which Colm Quigley loved to do. At the same, time, it’s about raising those much-needed funds for the Mental Health Forum where we can provide one-to-one counselling.”
As well as the benefit to mental health services, Aisling believes that the return of events such as this are important for the city, after two years of lockdown and covid-related stress.
“It’s important, not only for the mental health services that it funds, it’s also for the community spirit,” she explained. “Everyone has missed it and it’s bringing everyone back together which is so important, so we’re realty, really pleased to have it back on the road again because it’s bringing our communities together.
“This year as well, there have been a few who have registered to do it virtually, either on their holidays or where they live in England or down south, so we still have a few who are going to do it virtually, which is great for us, because that is something we wouldn’t have done in the past. We can do that every year now.
“As a highlight there is a kids’ run at 6 o’clock and we have put that as a superhero theme this year. Basically, we’re asking the wains to dress up as their favourite superhero, basically highlighting that they are superheroes, because of everything they have come through in the past few years with covid and that. We want to celebrate that as well.”
Packs are now being collected and the clock is ticking down on what is sure to be a colourful, memorable and fun Jog in the Bog, the like of which has never been seen before.
“We weren’t expecting this demand,” Aisling laughed. “We can’t believe we have 350 registered before the race because most of the runners usually come along on the night.
“I think this is going to be the biggest this year. The fact that it is run through the Feile Festival helps. That Festival is a big part of our community and this is probably one of the largest events that is run through the Feile. Gareth Stewart and his team have been amazing as well in helping us get the PR around it and supporting us with video clips. It’s the 30th year of the Feile so there’s more people coming out and enjoying the Festival and I do think this year will see our biggest numbers.”
There has been terrific support from local businesses for this year’s event, backing which helps make tonight’s race possible.
“O’Neill’s have been absolutely phenomenal with their sponsorship,” Aisling explained. “The t-shirts are outstanding, and the packs that they are getting from O’Neill’s would probably cost about £25 if you were to buy it all. O’Neill’s have been an integral part in getting people to register because of the service they provide us and the top they have designed this year.”
Aisling and the Bogside and Brandywell Health Forum would also like to thank the following for their support: City Cabs, B&Co. Care, ACR Energy Solutions, Mailey’s Bar and Off-License, DQ Fitness, Peadar O’Donnell’s, Friendly Financial, All State, E&I Engineering, Feile, and the Ryan McBride Foundation.
Registration is £10 for this 5k and you can register by visiting Bogside and Brandywell Health Forums website www.bbhealthforum.org or alternatively, you can sign up before the event this evening.
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