Northern Ireland Running

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Rathlin Run 2016

Entries open for Northern Ireland's most unique running event:

NiRunning (Northern Ireland Running) are very proud to announce that after the success of last year’s Rathlin Run, we will once again be working in association with highly respected charity, Belfast Activity Centre (aka BAC) for the 2016 event, which will take place on Saturday 27th August 2016 (1pm).  The event will be sponsored by ACTIVE FINANCIAL and CLIF BAR.

The Rathlin Run is Northern Ireland's most unique, and arguably, most challenging road race. This will be the 15th annual running of the event, which was originally introduced by Raleigh International, before Belfast Activity Centre took the reins several years ago.  

The '10 mile challenge', the original distance that caught the imagination of the local running community and cemented the event as an annual favourite, will once again be the feature race. The associated 5k run will also return, and offer an alternative for those wanting to test themselves over (or enjoy) a flatter, shorter course.  Course descriptions and maps are available further down this page.

NiRunning’s Ryan Maxwell spoke about this year’s event, “After the overwhelming success of the Rathlin Run in 2014 and 2015, we (NiRunning) are very excited about going forward into 2016 and working alongside BAC once again.  The atmosphere on the island over the entire race weekend is superb and although it would be easy to rest on those memories and the success that went with them, that is not and will never be something we do. Again, this year, we will be looking at ways to cement the Rathlin Run as one of the best and most iconic races in the UK.”

Belfast Activity Centre's Andrea Kilpatrick also spoke of her excitement for this year’s event, "BAC have been organising Rathlin Run for a number of years and have always thrived on the atmosphere and uniqueness of the event.  As running develops in Northern Ireland and the number of events increase, we feel that our partnership with NiRunning ensures that we keep up with the expectations of runners.  Rathlin Run 2015 was a resounding success, reaching capacity well before race day and with the sun shining, atmosphere flowing and the combined expertise of BAC and NiRunning staff it was a highly enjoyable day for all.”

Andrea added, “Rathlin Island is a beautiful location, where the local community make us feel very welcome and have embraced the race with a number of people from the Island assisting with the organisation, health and safety on the day, volunteering for water stops, running a BBQ and ensuring that everyone reached the island safely and on time via the ferry.  With our growing relationship with NiRunning bringing a fresh breath of air to the Rathlin Run and the recipe of a passionate and dedicated team behind it, we are confident that numbers will reach capacity and it will continue to be a much anticipated event in the Northern Ireland running calendar.”

Entries will be limited to 400 (inclusive of both events), so we would encourage everyone to enter early and make use of the early-bird prices, which are £20 for the 10 mile race and £12 for the 5k race.

Entry Details:

To enter the Rathlin Run 2016 please visit the Belfast Activity Centre website HERE, or contact BAC on 028 90 600 132; you will be able to pay by debit/credit card (or call to the office with cheque or cash).  

The entry fees for 2016 are:  RATHLIN 10 mile Challenge - £25 per individual entry (£20 early bird entry available until 29th February 2016). RATHLIN 5k Run - £15 per individual entry (£12 early bird entry available until 29th February 2016).

Running Club/Charity Package:

Enter a team of 10 runners to qualify for a group entry rate, details below:

10 runners or more, get 10% off total cost

15 runners or more, get 12% off total cost

20 runners or more, get 15% off total cost

Please call Belfast Activity Centre on 028 90 600 132 to secure this rate.

Transport - Important Information:

All runners and supporters are responsible for their own ferry arrangements. To book your outbound and return ferry with the Rathlin Island Ferry visit their on line booking website at or contact the booking office on 028 2076 9299.  We would recommend that you reserve book your return ferry crossings first before confirming your race registration and payment.      

Let your friends know that the challenge is back and save the date!  Please follow us on facebook (NiRunning) and twitter (@NiRunning) if you would like to be kept up to date with the Rathlin Run 2016. You can also follow Belfast Activity Centre on facebook (Belfast Activity Centre) and twitter (@BACCharity).

Course Description:

Rathlin Run (10 mile) - Map available HERE

The Rathlin Run 10 mile race covers an extremely scenic course.  It starts in the hub of the island, ‘Church Bay’ before heading inland, where competitors will complete a ‘loop’ which takes them in the direction of the East Light House.  Once at the island’s Community Centre (1.6m), the course directs athlete’s right and follows the main road towards the popular RSPB Seabird Centre and the West Lighthouse.

Participants will follow this undulating road, where they will be treated to stunning coastal and inland views.  En-route to the furthermost Western Point of the island, runners will pass Kinramer Wood, before entering Kebble Nature Reserve.  After completing a short off road road/trail section (normal road running shoes are suitable), competitors will turn at the RSPB Seabird Centre (5.7m), where they will follow the instructions of Marshalls and turn, heading back towards the Church Bay.

Unlike many ‘out and back’ courses, the Rathlin Run is unique in the fact that running in each direction seems appears like a completely new route, due to the stunning scenery, much of which is only visible when you are travelling either one way or the other.  On reaching the Community Centre, athletes will be instructed to turn right, down a steep hill (proceed with caution and turn left at the bottom) towards the Harbour.  Here, participants will enjoy a flat and fast finish along the Sea Front, before finishing just short of McCuigs Bar.

There will be Water Stations located at 2.5m, 5.7m and 8.1m.

Rathlin 5k Run - Map available HERE

Athletes will start in Church Bay (same start as the 10m race), before moving inland and turning right behind McCuigs Bar, towards ‘Rue Point’.  The course takes competitors past Craigmacagan Lough and Ally Lough, before turning just prior to the descent towards Usher Lough and the ‘metal gate’ into RSPB land.  On the way back, runners will then turn left before reaching Soernoeg Hostel, this will take them onto the stunning coast line; from here, participants will follow the coastal path, which offers excellent views of historical ruins, through Mill Bay and back towards Church Bay, where they will finish directly in front of McCuigs Bar.

There will be a Water Stations located at 1k and 4k.

Rathlin Run - Previous Results