SGN Natural Gas literally went the extra mile as sponsors of the Strabane Lifford Half Marathon in the heart of the new network area in the Western region for the second consecutive year. SGN Natural Gas came on board last year as the first official sponsors of the popular local sporting event and more than 1,000 runners of all abilities took to the start line again last month.
Conditions were almost perfect for the fifth annual major athletics event organised by Derry City and Strabane District Council in conjunction with Lifford Strabane AC. With the 5k entry category no longer an option as part of this year’s event, the large field of competitors eagerly tackled the new 13.1 mile cross-border route on Sunday, May 13th.
Members of the SGN Natural Gas project team were among those who took on the fitness challenge and for David Butler, Head of Engineering, it was a big step up from last year’s less demanding 5k! Upping his training regime both in the gym and on the roads certainly paid off for David who completed his first Half Marathon in just under two hours with a very respectable time of 1.55.
The atmosphere was electric from the 9am race build-up as runners were greeted by a wall of music and great commentary right through to the last big Adrenaline rush at the finish line. David said: “It was great to be joined by several of my work colleagues for the race itself and we were proud of the increased public awareness of the new SGN Natural Gas network within the local community and all of our branding so visible along the competition route.
“Huge thanks goes to our families, friends and colleagues who provided much needed added support and encouragement not just to ourselves but for all of the runners taking part in the event.” The top finishers were all from the local area – the winner was Gerard Gallagher of Finn Valley AC and the ladies winner was Claire McGuigan of host club Lifford Strabane AC.
David said: “Many age categories battled it out on the roads surrounding Strabane and Lifford and my message to anyone who may be thinking ahead to next year, if I can step up from a 5k to a Half Marathon there is definitely hope for many others who enjoy a bit of running in their spare time. Whether or not I’ll push myself even further for a full marathon, we’ll just have to wait and see!”
The other SGN Natural Gas runners on the day were Dominic Scullion, Safety, Health and Environmental (SHE) Manager and Adrian Harley from Kier McNicholas contractors. SGN Natural Gas are now looking forward to supporting the local community once again as sponsors of the annual Strabane Summer Jamm which promises to be a real family-friendly day out with a carnival atmosphere in the Co. Tyrone town from June 22nd -24th.
Both the Half Marathon and Summer Jamm were sponsored for two years in 2017 and 2018 as part of the ongoing commitment to community engagement across the network area, Strabane being the first of the initial eight towns connected to the new mains network. Around 1,900 homes and businesses in Strabane currently have access to natural gas which is now live in large parts of the town.