15/04/2002

May Day marathon shapes up to be the biggest yet

Organisers of the 21st Belfast City Marathon are confident that this year's event will be the biggest and the most competitive in recent history.

With hundreds of entries flooding into the Belfast City Marathon office, it is anticipated that a record number of competitors will take to the streets of Belfast on Monday May 6.

Already, the number of entries received from female athletes has more than doubled compared with that from this time last year. The overall number of entries for the main marathon is almost 100 per cent up on the same period last year.

Boosting the race's profile is the news that the Athletic Association of Ireland (AAI) will hold their annual championships during the marathon.

Danny O’Connor, chairman of the organising committee, said: “This is a truly exciting year for the Belfast City Marathon. The decision by the AAI to hold its championships in Belfast for the first time is a tremendous vote of confidence in the event, and undoubtedly will sharpen the competitive edge of this year’s race.”

Mr O'Connor was also pleased at the award of a silver grade by the British Association of Road Races (BARR), making the event one of the premier road-running events in the UK. Belfast was one of only four races invited to be considered for the award.

Another major development has been a substantial increase in the prize money for female athletes, bringing them into line with their male counterparts. The first female athlete to complete the 26.2 miles will receive £2,000, and the prizes for the other leading female finishers have also increased.

Among the top international athletes who already have signed up is Wilson Cheriuyot, winner of the Belfast Millennium Marathon in May 2000 and runner-up in last year’s event. However, he will face stiff competition from fellow Kenyan Morris Muriithi Mwangi, as well as the one of strongest fields of local athletes to have taken part in the event in recent years.

Top of the local list are Northern Ireland’s top long-distance runners, Alan McCullough, who will be looking to improve on last year’s fourth place finish, and David Brady, who followed his fellow North Belfast Harrier home in fifth place in 2001.

The 21st Belfast City Marathon, sponsored by Belfast City Council and the Ulster Pork and Bacon Forum, takes place on May 6 2002. The official charity for the 21st Belfast City Marathon is ChildLine Northern Ireland.

(GMcG)

Related Northern Ireland News Stories
Click here for the latest headlines.

20 March 2003
Marathon organisers expect record turnout
Organisers for the Belfast City Marathon are expecting a bumper turnout for this year's event, after receiving up to 40% more entries than on the same time last year.
18 January 2007
Belfast puts on its running shoes for Marathon effort
This year's Deep RiverRock Belfast City Marathon is to take place on May Day Bank Holiday Monday, on May 7.
20 April 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.
23 January 2004
Lord Mayor to run in Belfast City Marathon
The Lord Mayor of Belfast, Councillor Martin Morgan, has announced that he will be entering the 23rd Belfast City Marathon. Mr Morgan will be running in the 26-mile May Day challenge, in aid of this year’s official charity, Macmillan Cancer Relief.
27 April 2004
Dunwoody finds 'no hurdle' in entering Belfast marathon
One of Northern Ireland’s true sporting heroes will be taking on the challenge of its biggest athletics event next week. Former champion jockey, Richard Dunwoody, has confirmed his entry into this year's Belfast City Marathon.