20/04/2009

Belfast Marathon Races Into New Record

In excess of 33,000 feet will be pounding the streets of Belfast on May Day Bank Holiday Monday in the most successful Deep RiverRock Belfast City Marathon ever.

More than 16,500 people have signed up for the 28th running of Northern Ireland's biggest participatory sporting event on Monday 4 May.

More than 2,800 runners will be taking part in the main Marathon - that's a third again more than took part in the 2008 race.

Those seeking to complete the full 26.2 miles will be joined by more than 2,000 relay teams, each made up of five people, and almost 2,300 walkers and more than 1,200 fun runners.

"We enjoyed a record-breaking year in 2008, with almost 15,000 people

taking part in the four events: this was more than double the entry level of just six years ago - and now we've absolutely smashed that entry record," said Danny O'Connor, Chairman of the Deep RiverRock Belfast City Marathon Organizing Committee.
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While the vast majority of the entrants hail from the British Isles, the international appeal of Belfast is shown by entries from 24 different countries, including Kenya, Moldova, the Ukraine, Cyprus, the United Arab Emirates, France, Germany, Italy, Spain, the United States, Hungary, Switzerland, Indonesia, Canada, Qatar, the Netherlands and Iceland.

Leading the entry list once again is Kenya's John Mutai, who no doubt will be looking to make it a hat-trick of wins on May Day, following his emphatic victories in both 2007 and 2008.

His main challenge will come from Ukraine's Vyachesla Prikhadko, who finished third last year, and fellow Kenyan Zak Kihara. The top local entrant is Alan McCullough.

Heading the female entries is 2006 winner, Joyce Kandia, who laid down her marker for 2009 with an impressive victory in the Titanic Quarter 10K warm-up race earlier this month. Kandia's closest challenge is likely to come from Moldova's Svetlana Shepela.

(BmcC/JM)

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