Nine of the best running events in North Mayo (and West Sligo!)

Find a running challenge, no matter what your ability!

Ceide Coast Half Marathon & 10k Run. Photo: John O'Grady.

Running has become a passion for many in recent years – a way to get fit and to socialise. It’s also a fantastic hobby if you want to see a different part of the world. Below, we’ve put together our favourite running events from around the region over the course of the coming year, including all distances from the shortest 5km to a challenging 100km race.

Here’s nine of the best running events in North Mayo (and West Sligo!), but of course, if you want to run here, there’s something on nearly every weekend. Get those running shoes on and register now for an unforgettable challenge in our beautiful area.

Details are correct at time of writing. Please note that dates are subject to change, and cannot take responsibility for any amendments to race schedules.

1. 3 Marathons in 2 Days Challenge: Saturday, February 29th & Sunday, March 1st 2020

3 Marathons in 2 Days Challenge Ballina

This endurance running has really grown legs (see what we did there?) in recent years. Now in year six, for the first time a 50k race and a 100k race will form part of the weekend’s events, offering two half or full marathons and 100k &50k on the first day,  and your choice of half/full marathon on the second day. Three different looped courses in one beautiful place. And just look at those medals!

Please note that these are low key events, and you should bring your own gels/food which can be left at the water station at start/finish line.


2. Easkey Castle Fun Run – 5k/10k/10mile: Sunday, 19th April 2020

Easkey Cstle Fun Run

This event over the county border in West Sligo always has a real friendly, community feel to it. It also boasts one of the most scenic starts of any race we’ve ran, passing by the historic Rosslee Castle and that famous Surf Coast. It takes place on quiet roads, and finishes with a magnificent spread in the Community Centre afterwards. Whether you’re in it for the short or long haul, it’s a day out we’d highly recommend.

Registration not yet open

Honourable Mention: The annual Run for Boylo 10km/5km in Foxford – a celebration of life created by the family of the late Martin Boyle in his memory, with all proceeds going to charity. Takes place on Sunday, 26th April 2020.

3. The River Moy Half Marathon: Saturday, 23rd May 2020

River Moy Half Marathon Ballina 2017

A great race in which to aim for a FB, the River Moy Half takes in the beauty of, well, the River Moy itself, beautiful Belleek Woods, Rosserk and the Quay, Ballina. A sympathetic, flat route, it starts and finishes at Ballina Rugby Club and takes you through the town twice, ensuring lots of support on the way.


4. The Ballina Salmon Festival runs: during week 5th – 12th July 2020

Ballina Salmon Festival returns this year, and plays host to two great runs. The Festival 5k usually takes place on Tuesday evening in aid of local group River Moy Search and Rescue (register on the night only), with Ballina AC running it’s annual Festival 10k race on Friday evening.

It’s the biggest week of the year in Ballina which means lots of visiting runners and a general party atmosphere. Follow the Ballina Salmon Festival Facebook page for updates, and we’ll share more details here when they’re available.

10k online registration not yet open

Honourable Mention: The Annual Ronan Clarke 10k/5k which usually takes place in late July in beautiful, scenic Killala. Lovely, community event with a conscience in memory of  the late Ronan. Date TBC .

5. Wild Atlantic 10 Miler Ballina: Sunday, 16th August 2020

Wild Atlantic 10 Miler Ballina Co. Mayo

Another lovely route taking in Belleek Woods and Rosserk, this one, hosted by Ballina AC is perfectly timed for anyone hoping to compete in the Dublin Marathon. It’s deceptively challenging – the first part of the route is not without its hills, but the flat finish through the woods and the last few hundred metres on the forgiving surface of the Ballina Athletic Track make it an enjoyable finish.

Renowned for their striking and colourful medals, this is a gorgeous summer run.


6. Ireland West 3/4 Marathon and 5km, Swinford: Saturday, 5th September 2020

Ireland West 3/4 Marathon Swinford

Just in its second year, the Ireland West 3/4 marathon found a niche and burst onto the Mayo running scene in Mayo last year to great acclaim. Already a Running In Ireland award-winner, this Swinford AC hosted race is another well timed race for anyone wishing to tackle Dublin.

Like many community-led races it won great praise for the amount of friendly marshals and water stops and with a varied and interesting route, promises to be another great success in 2020. (Swinford, of course, isn’t actually in North Mayo, but it’s known as the Gateway to North Mayo, and that’s good enough for us!)


7. The Céide Coast Half Marathon and 10k Coastal Challenge: Saturday, October 10th, 2020 

Ceide Coast Half Marathon & 10k Run with Colm McLoughlin. Photo : John O'Grady.

The most scenic half-marathon in Ireland, bar none. And unique, in that this route takes you all along the incredible Céide Coastline, and off-road for a kilometre right onto Downpatrick Head. Don’t get us wrong – it’s not easy. The long, gradual ascent to the Head will test runners of all levels, but where else would you get it? The 10k route in turn takes you past historic Dunfeeny Standing Stone and lends spectacular views of Downpatrick Head.

An absolute must-run in 2019, and a huge hit with visitors – well over half the 2019 participants travelled from outside the county, with 10 % flying into Ireland to participate. Also one of the friendliest, well-managed community events on the Irish running calendar. Just do it!


Honourable Mention: The Enniscrone O’Dubhda Challenge – Marathon, Half Marathon and 20-miler. Date TBC, but usually late September/early October. 

8. Belleek Marathon Challenge: November 2020 (date TBC)

A low-key, two-day trail marathon challenge on a looped route through Belleek Woods, and limited to 150 runners, this really is one for the committed runners, but is also a lovely laid-back challenge. It’s one where the post-run cup of tea is always a very welcome one!

Proceeds to charity.  Keep an eye out for details closer to the time.

Registration not yet open

9. Ardagh GAA 5k Fun Run – Saturday, December 26th, 2020 

Deel Castle by Mike Kinsella

Hands up, this writer hails from the area, so is probably a bit biased in her selection, but this little gem of a 5km takes in a lovely loop of historic and scenic Ardagh, passing several historic ruins including two castles, no less, (Castlegore and Deelcastle), and the route for a part runs alongside the River Deel.

There’s a fancy dress competition, a post-race raffle and really, what better way to work off all that excess turkey? Of course, it’s always the sweeter when rounded off with a creamy pint in Ardagh’s Halfway House.

Photo: © Deel Castle, Ardagh by Mike Kinsella

Registration on the day only

Honourable mention: the Knockmore GAA 5km run also takes place on 26th December at 12pm!

These are just some of the best running events in North Mayo and West Sligo, but please let us know if you know of any other great runs that merit a mention.

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