Belfast Marathon 2014: These on the runs do our city proud
Marathon to remember for 18,000 participants
They came, they sweated and they conquered the Belfast City Marathon in their thousands.
The city's 33rd marathon went off without a hitch – despite it being a cold and damp day for the 18,000 men, women and youngsters who took part in events.
Nearly 3,000 men and women ran the entire 26.2 miles through the city, with over 11,000 runners in 2,200 relay teams along with nearly 2,000 competitors each walking eight miles or taking part in the three-mile fun run.
The race started at 9am and first over the line was Kenya's Freddy Sittu with a time of 2 hours, 18 minutes and 30 seconds. He came third in last year's race.
The ladies race was won by Ethiopian Bayrush Shiferaw in a time of 2:41.20 hours, while in the wheelchair event Kildare man Patrick Monahan won with a personal best of 2:06.21 hours.
The fastest runners completed the route in under three hours, however the vast majority clocked up times of between four and five hours for the gruelling challenge.
While the Deep RiverRock-sponsored event's chosen charity for this year was CLIC Sargent – an organisation that supports children and young people with cancer – dozens of other charities and good causes will benefit from the contribution of the competitors and those who support them.
Taking part in the premier race was Belfast's first citizen, Lord Mayor Mairtin O Muilleoir, a well-known runner.
The Lord Mayor managed to finish the marathon in 3:57 hours.
But he admitted that the going was very tough.
"Yes, it was very hard going, the cold and the rain didn't help but the amazing runners that I met up with and chatted along the way to helped me.
"I said when I became Lord Mayor last year that I wanted to put a smile on the face of Belfast and I saw that for myself today. There were smiles all around.
"I have met with some really inspirational fundraisers and they deserve every bit of praise."
He added: "I have to say a word of praise for my council colleague, Alderman Tom Ekin, who is well into his 70s and was running as part of a relay team to raise funds for the African orphanage that his daughter is involved in."
Mr O Muilleoir was raising funds for the Northern Ireland Hospice and promised to add some money himself to make it up to £7,000 raised by his group.
Despite the road closures to facilitate the runners, Belfast warmly welcomed those who competed yesterday.
Family members and friends were lined up at various key points along the route to help encourage their runners along in the marathon, which visited the four corners of the city.
The race started off at the City Hall and ended in front of the Ozone Centre along the Ormeau Embankment, where runners were given their medals and a free T-shirts for taking part, along with a much-need massage for tired legs.