Cloudy Skies Can’t Dampen Third GDTC Summer Fun Runs

The potential of rain didn’t prove to be an impediment to the 132 youngsters who headed out to the Pinkerton Academy track Thursday night, July 9, to take part in the third evening of 2015 Greater Derry Track Club (GDTC) Summer Fun Runs.

The popular series has continued this summer with an impressive 577 registrants having competed during the first three Thursdays. And Londonderry runners continued to be prominent in their finishes in the different age categories.

Londonderry runners who managed top-three finishes July 9 included Michaela Horan in the 9-year-old girls’ division (third place), Hannah Muller among the girl 10’s (second), Grace McDonough in the 11-year-old girls’ class (second), Cailey McDonough and Emma Donnelly among the 12-year-old young ladies (first and second respectively), and Jake Donnelly the boys’ open-mile finisher with his time of 5 minutes and 27 seconds.

Each week kids donate a non-perishable food item as their registration fee, and those items are later brought to the local food bank. The July 9 tally of food donated was 337 pounds, bringing the current 2015 donation total up to 1,058 pounds with three weeks still to go.

Registration takes place at 6 p.m. each Thursday, with the races   at 6:30 p.m. The remaining 2015 summer fun runs will be held July 16, 23, and 30.

The Thursday night runs begin with the youngsters being led in stretching exercises and given running tips by Greater Derry Track Club members. Then the 2- and 3-year-olds run 50 meters, ages 4 to 6 run 200 meters, 7- and 8-year-olds cover 300 meters, 9- and 10-year-old competitors do 600 meters, and the 11 to 13’s run a cross-country mile. Youngsters older than 14 run an open mile on the track, and that race often brings out elite high school runners from the area.

The GDTC has also added a 100-meter adaptive race for individuals with special needs.

Children receive participation ribbons each week, supplied by the Derry Recreation Department. Water, Gatorade, and watermelon are also supplied each week. Runners who complete the entire weekly series will receive medals and T-shirts from the GDTC.