15,000 line up for May Day Marathon Extravaganza
Almost 15,000 people will be taking to the streets of Belfast this Bank Holiday Monday in a united cause - the Deep RiverRock Belfast City Marathon.
A combination of serious athletes out to overcome their own challenges and fun runners just raising thousands of pounds for charity will make the 27th running of the Marathon the most successful yet.
Leading the field of almost 1,900 runners taking part in the main marathon are the two defending champions: John Mutai of Kenya, who last year narrowly failed to break Marty Deane’s 23-year old record by just 30 seconds, and Marashet Jumma of Ethiopia.
Kenyan, Joyce Kandie, winner of the women’s race in 2006, also returns to Belfast after a short break from running to take on Jumma and regain her Belfast crown. However, both Africans are likely to face some stiff competition, especially from Scotland’s Rosyln Alexander and North Belfast’s Breege Connolly.
In the men’s race, Mutai’s main competition should come from Ethiopia’s Tsegaye Tadesse, Finland’s Jaakko Kero and Ukraine’s Vyacheslav Prykhodko. Top local interest focuses on Tommy Hughes, winner in 1988 and again in 1998, Dungannon’s Delfin Pimentel, who was sixth last year, Armagh’s Turlough Donnelly and East Antrim’s Sam Crawford.
As ever, the largest proportion of entrants will be taking part in the relay event: some 1,800 teams will be lining up on the starting line at 9am on Monday. They will joined by some 2,000 walkers and 1,500 taking part in the associated Fun Run.
“There is no doubt that the interest in the Belfast Marathon continues to grow,” commented Danny O’Connor, chairman of the Deep RiverRock Belfast City marathon organizing committee.
The 2008 Deep RiverRock Belfast City Marathon is sponsored by Belfast City Council, Sport Northern Ireland, Up and Running, New Balance, Reach EPS, Tayto, Translink, Eventsec and Isaac Agnew. Official broadcast partner is U105 and accommodation provider is Premier Inn, which celebrates the first anniversary of opening its first Belfast hotel on the eve of the Marathon.
The 2008 Deep RiverRock Belfast City Marathon is organized by Belfast City Marathon Ltd., in partnership with Belfast City Council, Athletics Northern Ireland, Newtownabbey Borough Council, the PSNI, the Department for Regional Development, Sustrans and Translink.
The official charity of the 2008 Deep RiverRock Belfast City Marathon is the British Red Cross, which is celebrating its centenary this year.
Visit www.belfastcitymarathon.com for full details of the 2008 Deep RiverRock Belfast City Marathon.