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Belfast Marathon: Koech out to end Kipsang's reign

By Brian Hill

Published 05/10/2016

Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 18th September 2016 - 4th Deep RiverRock Belfast City Half Marathon in Ormeau Park.
Photo by Kelvin Boyes / Press Eye.
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 18th September 2016 - 4th Deep RiverRock Belfast City Half Marathon in Ormeau Park. Photo by Kelvin Boyes / Press Eye.
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 18th September 2016 - 4th Deep RiverRock Belfast City Half Marathon in Ormeau Park. Photo by Kelvin Boyes / Press Eye.
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 18th September 2016 - 4th Deep RiverRock Belfast City Half Marathon in Ormeau Park. Photo by Kelvin Boyes / Press Eye.
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 18th September 2016 - 4th Deep RiverRock Belfast City Half Marathon in Ormeau Park. Photo by Kelvin Boyes / Press Eye.
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 18th September 2016 - 4th Deep RiverRock Belfast City Half Marathon in Ormeau Park. Photo by Kelvin Boyes / Press Eye.
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 18th September 2016 - 4th Deep RiverRock Belfast City Half Marathon in Ormeau Park. Photo by Kelvin Boyes / Press Eye.
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 18th September 2016 - 4th Deep RiverRock Belfast City Half Marathon in Ormeau Park. Photo by Kelvin Boyes / Press Eye.
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 18th September 2016 - 4th Deep RiverRock Belfast City Half Marathon in Ormeau Park. Photo by Kelvin Boyes / Press Eye.
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 18th September 2016 - 4th Deep RiverRock Belfast City Half Marathon in Ormeau Park. Photo by Kelvin Boyes / Press Eye.
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 18th September 2016 - 4th Deep RiverRock Belfast City Half Marathon in Ormeau Park. Photo by Kelvin Boyes / Press Eye.
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 18th September 2016 - 4th Deep RiverRock Belfast City Half Marathon in Ormeau Park. Photo by Kelvin Boyes / Press Eye.
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 18th September 2016 - 4th Deep RiverRock Belfast City Half Marathon in Ormeau Park. Photo by Kelvin Boyes / Press Eye.
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 18th September 2016 - 4th Deep RiverRock Belfast City Half Marathon in Ormeau Park. (Photo by Kevin Scott / Press Eye)
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 18th September 2016 - 4th Deep RiverRock Belfast City Half Marathon in Ormeau Park. (Photo by Kevin Scott / Press Eye)
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 18th September 2016 - 4th Deep RiverRock Belfast City Half Marathon in Ormeau Park. (Photo by Kevin Scott / Press Eye)
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 18th September 2016 - Mens Winner Freddie Sittock 4th Deep RiverRock Belfast City Half Marathon in Ormeau Park. (Photo by Kevin Scott / Press Eye)
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 18th September 2016 - Mens Winner Freddie Sittock 4th Deep RiverRock Belfast City Half Marathon in Ormeau Park. (Photo by Kevin Scott / Press Eye)
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 18th September 2016 - 3rd Adam Kirk-Smith 4th Deep RiverRock Belfast City Half Marathon in Ormeau Park. (Photo by Kevin Scott / Press Eye)
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 18th September 2016 - 2nd Scott Rankin 4th Deep RiverRock Belfast City Half Marathon in Ormeau Park. (Photo by Kevin Scott / Press Eye)
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 18th September 2016 - 2nd Scott Rankin 4th Deep RiverRock Belfast City Half Marathon in Ormeau Park. (Photo by Kevin Scott / Press Eye)
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 18th September 2016 - Womens 1st Laura Graham 4th Deep RiverRock Belfast City Half Marathon in Ormeau Park. (Photo by Kevin Scott / Press Eye)
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 18th September 2016 - Womens 1st Laura Graham 4th Deep RiverRock Belfast City Half Marathon in Ormeau Park. (Photo by Kevin Scott / Press Eye)
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 18th September 2016 - (L-R) Womens podium - 3rd Louise Smith , 1st Laura Graham and 3rd Amy Bulman at the 4th Deep RiverRock Belfast City Half Marathon in Ormeau Park. (Photo by Kevin Scott / Press Eye)
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 18th September 2016 - 4th Deep RiverRock Belfast City Half Marathon in Ormeau Park. (Photo by Kevin Scott / Press Eye)
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 18th September 2016 - Minister Máirtín Ó Muilleoir during the 4th Deep RiverRock Belfast City Half Marathon in Ormeau Park. (Photo by Kevin Scott / Press Eye)
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 18th September 2016 - Naomi Watson at the 4th Deep RiverRock Belfast City Half Marathon in Ormeau Park. Photo by Kelvin Boyes / Press Eye.
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 18th September 2016 - Christopher Boyce at the 4th Deep RiverRock Belfast City Half Marathon in Ormeau Park. Photo by Kelvin Boyes / Press Eye.
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 18th September 2016 - Robert McCallion at the 4th Deep RiverRock Belfast City Half Marathon in Ormeau Park. Photo by Kelvin Boyes / Press Eye.
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 18th September 2016 - Owen Fitzpatrick at the 4th Deep RiverRock Belfast City Half Marathon in Ormeau Park. Photo by Kelvin Boyes / Press Eye.
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 18th September 2016 - Andrea Farrell and Ursula Coary at the 4th Deep RiverRock Belfast City Half Marathon in Ormeau Park. Photo by Kelvin Boyes / Press Eye.
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 18th September 2016 - Eileen Stevenson 4th Deep RiverRock Belfast City Half Marathon in Ormeau Park. (Photo by Kevin Scott / Press Eye)
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 18th September 2016 - Sarah Addis at the 4th Deep RiverRock Belfast City Half Marathon in Ormeau Park. Photo by Kelvin Boyes / Press Eye.
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 18th September 2016 - Andy Gibson at the 4th Deep RiverRock Belfast City Half Marathon in Ormeau Park. Photo by Kelvin Boyes / Press Eye.
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 18th September 2016 - 4th Deep RiverRock Belfast City Half Marathon in Ormeau Park. Photo by Kelvin Boyes / Press Eye.
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 18th September 2016 - Maeve Kennedy at the 4th Deep RiverRock Belfast City Half Marathon in Ormeau Park. Photo by Kelvin Boyes / Press Eye.
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 18th September 2016 - Nigel Milligan and Gillian Cuthbert at the 4th Deep RiverRock Belfast City Half Marathon in Ormeau Park. Photo by Kelvin Boyes / Press Eye.
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 18th September 2016 - 4th Deep RiverRock Belfast City Half Marathon in Ormeau Park. Photo by Kelvin Boyes / Press Eye.
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 18th September 2016 - Joanne Coen at the 4th Deep RiverRock Belfast City Half Marathon in Ormeau Park. Photo by Kelvin Boyes / Press Eye.
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 18th September 2016 - Heather McNeilly at the 4th Deep RiverRock Belfast City Half Marathon in Ormeau Park. Photo by Kelvin Boyes / Press Eye.
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 18th September 2016 - Jim Young at the 4th Deep RiverRock Belfast City Half Marathon in Ormeau Park. Photo by Kelvin Boyes / Press Eye.
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 18th September 2016 - Paul McGuigan at the Robert McCallion at the 4th Deep RiverRock Belfast City Half Marathon in Ormeau Park. Photo by Kelvin Boyes / Press Eye.
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 18th September 2016 - Tara McBride at the 4th Deep RiverRock Belfast City Half Marathon in Ormeau Park. Photo by Kelvin Boyes / Press Eye.
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 18th September 2016 - 4th Deep RiverRock Belfast City Half Marathon in Ormeau Park. Photo by Kelvin Boyes / Press Eye.
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 18th September 2016 - Joanna Creed at the 4th Deep RiverRock Belfast City Half Marathon in Ormeau Park. Photo by Kelvin Boyes / Press Eye.
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 18th September 2016 - 4th Deep RiverRock Belfast City Half Marathon in Ormeau Park. Photo by Kelvin Boyes / Press Eye.
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 18th September 2016 - John Deery at the 4th Deep RiverRock Belfast City Half Marathon in Ormeau Park. Photo by Kelvin Boyes / Press Eye.
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 18th September 2016 - Miss Northern Ireland Emma Carswell with Minister Máirtín Ó Muilleoir during the 4th Deep RiverRock Belfast City Half Marathon in Ormeau Park. (Photo by Kevin Scott / Press Eye)
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 18th September 2016 - Alex Porter 4th Deep RiverRock Belfast City Half Marathon in Ormeau Park. (Photo by Kevin Scott / Press Eye)
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 18th September 2016 - Sarah jane Guiney 4th Deep RiverRock Belfast City Half Marathon in Ormeau Park. (Photo by Kevin Scott / Press Eye)
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 18th September 2016 - Paul Davy 4th Deep RiverRock Belfast City Half Marathon in Ormeau Park. (Photo by Kevin Scott / Press Eye)
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 18th September 2016 - Alex Porter 4th Deep RiverRock Belfast City Half Marathon in Ormeau Park. (Photo by Kevin Scott / Press Eye)
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 18th September 2016 - 4th Deep RiverRock Belfast City Half Marathon in Ormeau Park. (Photo by Kevin Scott / Press Eye)
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 18th September 2016 - Finance Minister Mirtn î Muilleoir at the 4th Deep RiverRock Belfast City Half Marathon in Ormeau Park. Photo by Kelvin Boyes / Press Eye.
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 18th September 2016 - 4th Deep RiverRock Belfast City Half Marathon in Ormeau Park. Photo by Kelvin Boyes / Press Eye.
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 18th September 2016 - 4th Deep RiverRock Belfast City Half Marathon in Ormeau Park. Photo by Kelvin Boyes / Press Eye.
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 18th September 2016 - Fireman Noel McKee at the 4th Deep RiverRock Belfast City Half Marathon in Ormeau Park. Photo by Kelvin Boyes / Press Eye.
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 18th September 2016 - Pamela McGlade , Charlene Corbett, Scott Bell, Dawn Wright 4th Deep RiverRock Belfast City Half Marathon in Ormeau Park. (Photo by Kevin Scott / Press Eye)
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 18th September 2016 - Lord Mayor Brian Kingston with cyclists at the 4th Deep RiverRock Belfast City Half Marathon in Ormeau Park. (Photo by Kevin Scott / Press Eye)
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 18th September 2016 - Andy Fennell, John McAllister and Steven Magennis 4th Deep RiverRock Belfast City Half Marathon in Ormeau Park. (Photo by Kevin Scott / Press Eye)
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 18th September 2016 - 4th Deep RiverRock Belfast City Half Marathon in Ormeau Park. (Photo by Kevin Scott / Press Eye)
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 18th September 2016 - Aidan Vance , Barry Vance and Thomas Field 4th Deep RiverRock Belfast City Half Marathon in Ormeau Park. (Photo by Kevin Scott / Press Eye)
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 18th September 2016 - 4th Deep RiverRock Belfast City Half Marathon in Ormeau Park. (Photo by Kevin Scott / Press Eye)
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 18th September 2016 - Running Beir 4th Deep RiverRock Belfast City Half Marathon in Ormeau Park. (Photo by Kevin Scott / Press Eye)
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 18th September 2016 - Lord Mayor Brian Kingson and his running team 4th Deep RiverRock Belfast City Half Marathon in Ormeau Park. (Photo by Kevin Scott / Press Eye)
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 18th September 2016 - Lord Mayor Brian Kingston 4th Deep RiverRock Belfast City Half Marathon in Ormeau Park. (Photo by Kevin Scott / Press Eye)
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 18th September 2016 - 4th Deep RiverRock Belfast City Half Marathon in Ormeau Park. (Photo by Kevin Scott / Press Eye)
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 18th September 2016 - Michael McCartney, Carly Sung,Hazel McCartney and Nigel Devine 4th Deep RiverRock Belfast City Half Marathon in Ormeau Park. (Photo by Kevin Scott / Press Eye)
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 18th September 2016 - 4th Deep RiverRock Belfast City Half Marathon in Ormeau Park. (Photo by Kevin Scott / Press Eye)
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 18th September 2016 - Jude Clawson and Stephen Taggart 4th Deep RiverRock Belfast City Half Marathon in Ormeau Park. (Photo by Kevin Scott / Press Eye)
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 18th September 2016 - 4th Deep RiverRock Belfast City Half Marathon in Ormeau Park. (Photo by Kevin Scott / Press Eye)
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 18th September 2016 - 4th Deep RiverRock Belfast City Half Marathon in Ormeau Park. (Photo by Kevin Scott / Press Eye)
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 18th September 2016 - 4th Deep RiverRock Belfast City Half Marathon in Ormeau Park. (Photo by Kevin Scott / Press Eye)
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 18th September 2016 - 4th Deep RiverRock Belfast City Half Marathon in Ormeau Park. (Photo by Kevin Scott / Press Eye)
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 18th September 2016 - 4th Deep RiverRock Belfast City Half Marathon in Ormeau Park. (Photo by Kevin Scott / Press Eye)
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 18th September 2016 - 4th Deep RiverRock Belfast City Half Marathon in Ormeau Park. (Photo by Kevin Scott / Press Eye)
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 18th September 2016 - 4th Deep RiverRock Belfast City Half Marathon in Ormeau Park. (Photo by Kevin Scott / Press Eye)
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 18th September 2016 - 4th Deep RiverRock Belfast City Half Marathon in Ormeau Park. (Photo by Kevin Scott / Press Eye)
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 18th September 2016 - 4th Deep RiverRock Belfast City Half Marathon in Ormeau Park. (Photo by Kevin Scott / Press Eye)
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 18th September 2016 - 4th Deep RiverRock Belfast City Half Marathon in Ormeau Park. (Photo by Kevin Scott / Press Eye)
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 18th September 2016 - 4th Deep RiverRock Belfast City Half Marathon in Ormeau Park. (Photo by Kevin Scott / Press Eye)
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 18th September 2016 - 4th Deep RiverRock Belfast City Half Marathon in Ormeau Park. (Photo by Kevin Scott / Press Eye)
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 18th September 2016 - 4th Deep RiverRock Belfast City Half Marathon in Ormeau Park. (Photo by Kevin Scott / Press Eye)
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 18th September 2016 - 4th Deep RiverRock Belfast City Half Marathon in Ormeau Park. (Photo by Kevin Scott / Press Eye)
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 18th September 2016 - 4th Deep RiverRock Belfast City Half Marathon in Ormeau Park. (Photo by Kevin Scott / Press Eye)
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 18th September 2016 - 4th Deep RiverRock Belfast City Half Marathon in Ormeau Park. (Photo by Kevin Scott / Press Eye)
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 18th September 2016 - (L-R) Mens Podium - 2nd Scott Rankin , 1st Freddie Sittock and 3rd Adam Kirk-Smith with Miss Northern Ireland Emma Carswell in the 4th Deep RiverRock Belfast City Half Marathon in Ormeau Park. (Photo by Kevin Scott / Press Eye)

Eric Koech, the 2016 Deep RiverRock Belfast Marathon runner-up, will be making a determined effort to go one better on May 1 next year in the 36th running of the event.

The 35-year-old made quite an impact earlier this year when he won a close duel with fellow Kenyan Dan Tanui to clinch the runner-up spot.

Both athletes were in the three-man leading group at the 20-mile mark when Joel Kipsang suddenly broke away to secure victory. Koech then fought a gruelling battle with Tanui before winning a frantic sprint finish to secure second place by three seconds in a time of two hours, 18 minutes and 43 seconds.

Koech was delighted with his performance, considering he had only taken up running six years ago and it was his first race outside Kenya. But now he is eyeing victory next May.

Technical Race Director David Seaton announced some details for next year's event, when it is hoped that some 16,000 people will take part - which would make the Belfast Marathon the biggest mass participation sporting event in the province.

He revealed that there will be significant financial advantages for those who taste success in Belfast. The total prize fund for the winner of the men's race will be £8,000, which includes a rollover figure of £5,000 for breaking the course record of 2.13.41, set in 2012.

The top female will pocket a cool £7,000 if they break the record of 2.36.49 from 2013.

Koech has a personal best time of two hours and 16 minutes, set when he finished second in the Nairobi Marathon two years ago. After last year's runner-up finish in Belfast, he came second in the Strabane Half Marathon behind Tanui. Koech believes he will have the advantage of being better acquainted with the Belfast course next May.

However, triple Belfast Marathon winner Kipsang can also claim similar credentials. In May, he stated that he fully intends to return next year in search of a fourth victory. The Kenyan will certainly start favourite as he defeated Koech last time by a comfortable one-minute margin.

Nevertheless, Koech, a member of Omagh coach Ciaran Collins' Project Africa scheme, will be making a determined effort to break Kipsang's dominance in the Belfast event.

On the run: Eric Koech has set his sights on victory in Belfast
On the run: Eric Koech has set his sights on victory in Belfast

Belfast Telegraph

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