Lurgan Tigers Rugby and St Peter’s GAA are teaming up to stage a Run 4 Lurgan this weekend.
Members from both clubs will be taking part in the sponsored run of Lurgan Park on Friday, June 7.
It’s the latest in a series of cross-community efforts between the two clubs, building on a friendship started a couple of years ago.
David Wellwood, youth convenor at Lurgan Tigers said: “We’re always looking for ways to fund raise, it takes a big effort and lots of cash to deliver the quality mini rugby experience we deliver in the Tigers. I had the idea one Sunday night whilst watching TV. The initial plan was just a sponsored park run 5k, that led to ‘a why not make this a bit bigger and get St Peters involved’, a couple of phone calls with Ciaran McCavigan at St Peter’s and we had the bones of a plan.”
Initial planning started straight away at the end of March with a lot of work between the clubs to coordinate with council PSNI etc.
The Rugby Club and St Peter’s have been making great strides in reaching across the communities in Lurgan as David explained: “The friendship between the clubs started back a couple of years ago when Lurgan RFC contacted St Peter’s about getting a joint code session for the kids, this developed into our game of two halves and we’ve kept that up by having a return fixture in St Peter’s, this joint venture made lots of sense as it brought us together in a non-contested space i.e. Lurgan Park
“It’s really important to stress that both the guys in St Peter’s and the Tigers see our joint projects as being something that will be long term, we aren’t interested in short term publicity or gains there is a firm commitment on both sides to deliver opportunities for all our kids and young people to interact and play sport together in a fun environment.
David said the response has been Really positive so far with the PSNI, Council and Lord Mayor’s office all “really enthused”.
Local businesses have got behind it too with Tesco Lurgan supplying fruit, People First snack boxes and River Rock water for participants: “People seem to really get on board with the cross community aspect and the whole concept, the support has been obvious from everyone who’s sponsored one of the kids.
A total of around 120 are expected to take part in the run, start from the clubs at 6.30pm.
There will be relay runners leaving respective clubs and meeting in the centre of the town in the plaza at Market St (7pm), the last relay runners will exchange a football and a rugby ball in lieu of a baton before all the participants head down Windsor Avenue together to start the actual route in the park, It’s about 4k in the park for older kids and a shorter easier route for younger members.
David said: “We hope everyone will join us afterwards at the fountain for refreshments, a bit of craic and hopefully a few rugby and footballs on the go.
“We reckon this will be a very successful event that helps show what sport can do to bring communities together. It’s been great to work with Ciaran to get the run organised and we are already thinking of what we can do to build on this idea.”