Coastal Challenge

Friday 25th May, 2018

The Hoka Runher Coastal Challenge takes place along one of the most scenic of loughshore routes, threading its way between Holywood and Bangor in Northern Ireland.
A great way to begin the Bank Holiday weekend.

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Event info

Event start

The 5 km event will start at Rockport School, Holywood at 6:30 pm, and the 10 km event will start at Seapark, Holywood at 7:15 pm.
The new half marathon event will start at The Dirty Duck at 6:30 pm.
All events finish at Crawfordsburn Country Park, with the half marathon first continuing on to Bangor before retracing its steps back to the finish line in the park.

Entry prices

5 km and 10 km events

£15 until 1st April*

£20 until 25th May

Half marathon event

£25 until 1st April*

£30 until 25th May

Online entry closes on 20th May. Entries can also be taken at Pure Running until Thursday 24th May, and at Seapark, Holywood on the day of the event. All entrants will receive an event t-shirt, goody bag, and race chip-timing.†
Pack collection will be at Pure Running on Wednesday 23rd May from 10:00 am–6:00 pm and Thursday 24th May from 10:00 am–8:00 pm for all distances.
On Friday, 5 km and 10 km runners can collect their pack from the bowling pavilion at Seapark between 2:00 pm–6:00 pm. Half marathon runners can collect their pack from The Dirty Duck before 5:30 pm.
Your pack can be collected by you, a friend, or a family member and to collect your pack you just need to give us your name (we only need the e-mail confirmation if we can’t find you on our entry system which is very rare).
*Plus £1.12 administration fee. Prices will increase at 00:00 am on the dates listed.

†If entered before online entry has closed.

Half marathon route information

Start at The Dirty Duck pub on the Kinnegar Road, Holywood. The first 300 metres are on the road and then join the coastal path.
Go through Seapark (1 km) and follow the path, past North of Ireland Yacht Club, Royal Belfast Golf Club (3 km) — the path is narrow and rough here. Watch out for the rocky, twisty outcrops (5 km).
Then past the water station (6 km), followed by Rockport School, across the new bridge (watch out for the low arch), and after the Boathouse (7 km), there’s a left turn and on to Grey’s Point (8 km) and out for a short distance onto the road footpath.
Then it’s Helen’s Bay beach (9 km) and through to the end of Crawfordsburn beach (10 km).
There’s a 400 metre loop here before crossing the bridge. Take a right to the second wooden foot bridge and then double back to the coastal path.
After that, it’s past Carnalee Golf Club and through Smelt Mill Bay (12 km). When you get to Pickie Pool (14 km) turn left at the gates and then right along the harbour (leaving Pickie on your right) and continue along the marina to the McKee Clock turnaround (15 km) where there’s a second water station.
Then retrace your steps on the same route, again taking in the loop into Crawfordsburn. Having completed that 400 metre loop it’s a left up the path, through the gap in the hedge — don’t go up the hill around the field; that is only for the 10 km event — and just go straight through to the finish in front of the Woodlands Cafe.

There will be changing and toilets available at Holywood Yacht Club near the start, and additional toilets in The Dirty Duck.
Unfortunately, there will be no bag drop available from this location, however, shuttle buses will be available to return you to The Dirty Duck should you need to collect anything.
There will be a 600 metre stretch on the road before joining the Coastal Path. Throughout this section, runners must stay to the left of the white line as directed by marshals. Slower participants should use the footpath or esplanade at the start.
There will be water stations at the 6 km mark (just before Rockport School), 15 km mark at the McKee Clock turnaround, Bangor Marina, and at the finish.
At the far end of Crawfordsburn beach there is a 500 metre loop at 10 km before continuing along the coastal path. This loop will be used on the way out and also on the way back, as directed by marshals, following a small stream — adjacent to the lower car park — to the second wooden bridge and back to the coastal path.
Kilometre markers will be in purple.
Don’t forget to claim your medal at the finish line which has been specially struck for the half-marathon only!

10 km route information

Start at Seapark in Holywood, opposite the pavilion. The course meanders through the park before joining the coastal path. Just after the 1 km mark, you pass the North of Ireland Yacht Club. The path narrows and is rough beside Royal Belfast Golf Club (3 km) — watch out for the rocky outcrops soon after this.
The water station is just before the 5 km mark and also just before Rockport School. Then it’s over the new bridge, taking care at the low arch, and then past the small boathouse where the path turns left (6 km).
Then it climbs upwards to Grey’s Point and out onto the road footpath briefly before going down and across Helen’s Bay beach (8 km).
Once into Crawfordsburn Country Park, the route goes along to the end of the beach before turning right and up through a gap in the hedge. There is a sting in the tail as the course turns right up and around the field before the finish at the Woodlands Cafe.

Except for residents, car access will be restricted off the A2 down Seapark Road to the start line after 5:30 pm, so consider being dropped off.
The main A2 Bangor–Belfast dual-carriageway is exceptionally busy on a Friday evening, so please observe extreme caution when crossing if you choose to park on the far side in the Bangor Road–Croft Road vicinity. There is a pedestrian crossing nearby at the traffic lights.
ALternatively, take a train to Holywood station and walk the short distance along the coastal path to Seapark.
There will be no bag drop available in Seapark.
Chemical toilets will be available in the park before the start.
Participants should line up according to their likely finishing time, with walkers starting from the back.
Kilometre markers will be in black.
There will be a water station just before 5 km and water and bananas at the finish.

5 km route information

Start at the back of Rockport School on the playing pitches and the route goes downhill through a small yard, behind a house and across the grass, and right onto the coastal path at a gate. The 1 km mark is after the new bridge and just before a low arch. The 2 km mark comes just after a small boathouse where the path veers left. The route then climbs uphill past Grey’s Point gun emplacement to the 3 km mark.
Then it’s out onto the road footpath, downhill and left onto Helen’s Bay beach. The 4 km mark is at the end of the beach.
Follow the path along to the end of the beach at Crawfordsburn before turning right and going through the hedge and straight through to the Woodlands Cafe finish — do not turn right up and around the field; that is only for the 10 km event.

There will be no parking in Rockport School grounds. However, there is parking available on Seahill Road and the walk down to the school. Alternatively, take the train to Seahill Station and follow the path to the school.
If you are getting dropped off, Seahill Road is best drop-off point before making the turn towards Rockport School.
You can leave a bag in The Jackson Building at the school and collect it when you get the shuttle bus back, following the event. There are also toilets there available for use, and more can be found at the back of the school.
Kilometre markers will be in black.


There will be four buses facilitating shuttle runs from Crawfordsburn Country Park back to the three starting points between 7:00 pm and 10:00 pm. The buses are available to all those participating and does not need to be booked in advance.
If you have any queries on this matter, please give us a call on 02890 325151 or e-mail

Parking · Half marathon and 10 km

We would recommend as many people to car share as possible, and for those doing the half marathon or 10 km events please use the car parks in Holywood. It is just a short walk to the start line, so provides a good way to warm up. No cars will be able to park at Seapark on the night of the event.

Parking · 5 km

For the 5 km event there is no parking at Rockport School, although there is a little on-street parking available close to the school. Again, we would recommend car sharing or, if possible, friends or family to drop you off at the start line.

Change of distance

​Any participant wanting to change the distance they are running can do so for no extra charge if they are changing from 5 km to 10 km, 10 km to 5 km or half marathon to either 5 km or 10 km.
If you would like to change the distance you are running please e-mail by midnight on Sunday 20th May. Unfortunately, any requests made after this date can not be facilitated.

Finish line

At the finish line in Crawsfordsburn Country Park there will be a prize giving for 1st, 2nd and 3rd place in the 5 km, 10 km and half marathon events. There is also free kids’ entertainment, free sports massage provided by Apex Physiotherapy, and the Woodlands Cafe will be open as well as the option to buy burgers and hot dogs from the BBQ.

Finally, we’d like to wish everyone good luck, and we hope that you have a great time.

We’re looking forward to seeing you there,

The Runher team

Press release

Hoka Runher Series breaks new ground

A new title sponsor and a first for women’s-only running in Ireland provide the headlines for the 2018 Hoka Runher Series.
The first event up will be the Runher Coastal Challenge on Friday evening, May 25th, featuring — for the first time — a women’s half-marathon following the Belfast Lough shore path from Holywood to Bangor, retracing its steps to finish in Crawfordsburn Country Park.
The 21K/13.1 mile women’s-only event will be the first of its kind in Ireland with only two others listed in Europe this year in Odense, Denmark and Madrid, Spain.
The Runher half-marathon will sit alongside the popular and well-established 5 km and 10 km events on the night. The series will once again be run in association with Pure Running, and business owner and race director Michael Jenkins says:

I guess we’ve been building up to this for the eleven years that Runher has been going — starting out with a 5K, then an 8K, a 10K and now 21K.
The Runher community has been growing with us and extending its ambitions and we’re excited about offering this fresh challenge along that most scenic of run routes and hopefully providing a great start to the Bank Holiday weekend.
We are also delighted that Hoka One One, the world’s fastest growing running shoe company, has come onboard to join us in this new venture, and our long-time media partner the Belfast Telegraph will still be with us to capture the build-up and the series on its digital platform.”

Elizabeth Brown, Sports Marketing Manager for Hoka One One says,

Winning with women is a key focus for us in 2018. With the expansion of the Runher Series to include a half marathon event this year, we’re therefore very excited to be announced as title partner and look forward to supporting female runners across the island of Ireland with our products and education.”

There will be three start points: Rockport School for the 5 km event (6:30 pm), Seapark, Holywood for the 10 km event (7:15 pm) and The Dirty Duck on Kinnegar Road, Holywood for the half marathon (6:30 pm) with all three finishing in Crawfordsburn Country Park where a barbecue, some kids’ entertainment and a post-race massage from Apex Physio will be available.
The Series will conclude with Runher Titanic 5K and 10K on Sunday morning, October 21st in the Titanic Quarter.

There will be a bag drop service available to transfer your kit from the event start at Seapark to the finish at Crawfordsburn Country Park. Transport will also be provided from the finish at Crawfordsburn back to both Rockport School and Seapark. See the event info tab for further details.