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  • Michael Kenwood (Local Democracy Reporter)

Belfast Zoo to host the ‘Zoo Challenge 5k Fun Run’ in 2023


Belfast Zoo is to host a 5K fun run across the whole of its grounds next year for charity.


This week elected members at Belfast City Council approved a request by Monkstown Spartans Athletics Club, the event organiser, to hold the “Zoo Challenge 5k Fun Run” in the grounds of Belfast Zoo.


Councillors heard from the City Growth and Regeneration Committee the club intends to use all public areas at the zoo site, as well as the car park for the run. The maximum number of participants will be 500, and will be open to runners aged 16 and over.



The organiser intends to charge a registration fee to participants of £18 per person. A portion of the registration fee will be given to Belfast Zoo, and a portion of the fee to the club’s selected charity, which is not yet confirmed.


A date is also to be confirmed. The event will not impact on normal zoo opening hours, with set-up, run, and dismantle taking place prior to normal opening at 10.00am. 



The council report states: “There are no cost implications to the zoo. The only direct cost is staff overtime associated with early opening to facilitate set up prior to 8am, however this cost will be invoiced directly to the organiser. The cost will be based on the hourly overtime rate of the relevant staff involved.


“To ensure compliance with zoo health and safety requirements re: emergency procedures, a minimum of two zoo staff must be on-site during the event set up and through the duration of the event and dismantle. These staff will be required to commence work earlier than their usual shift (i.e. 7am rather than 8am). The applicable overtime costs will be charged to the organiser.”



It adds: “The organiser will supply all event equipment and personnel, including first response paramedics, safeguarding requirements, qualified health and safety marshals, portaloos, bins, radios, signage, gazebos and a battery powered PA. Stewards are trained at local parkrun level and have completed compulsory marshalling volunteer roles.”


Monkstown Spartans will be promoting the event through club social media channels, athletics organisations, Athletics NI and sponsors’ advertising.

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