Belfat City Marathon: Bayush Adebe Shiferaw quick to make up lost time
Winner: Bayush Adebe Shiferaw crosses the line first in the women's race yesterday PRESSEYE
Bayush Adebe Shiferaw proved that it's not how you start a Marathon that counts – it's how you finish it.
The talented Ethiopian arrived late to the party yesterday but she was celebrating at the end.
Shiferaw missed the scheduled start of the women's event by around a minute after an unfortunate misunderstanding – handing her rivals an early advantage.
But she put aside that early setback to come home first, 12 minutes ahead of Scotland's Shona Crombie-Hicks.
The African produced a classy performance and the winning time of two hours 41 minutes and 20 seconds was only two minutes and 33 seconds outside her personal best set in Annecy, France in 2011.
Northern Ireland athlete Karen Alexander also produced an impressive performance to clinch third position.
Alexander clocked two hours and 58 minutes and was delighted to finish just inside the three hour mark.
While Shiferaw toasted a stunning achievement in the women's challenge, Kenyan Freddy Sittuk was the first man to cross the finish line in the 33rd Deep RiverRock Belfast City Marathon.
Sittuk, who was third in last year's race, broke clear of the other leaders at the 18-mile mark to finish ahead of the chasing pack in a time of 2 hours 18 minutes and 30 seconds.
The 32-year-old finished three minutes and 10 seconds ahead of last year's winner Joel Kipsang with Hilary Kipsang a further 28 seconds in arrears.
Sittuk's winning time was almost four minutes outside his personal best set in Morocco four years ago but he was thrilled to claim the honours.
"Even though I knew the field was strong I was confident that I could win," he said.
"While I finished third last year I had really prepared this time and am much stronger.
"I like the course even though it is very windy in places.
"I ran together with the other Kenyans and then pushed on after half-way because I felt so good.
"I intend to be back next year as I really like Belfast."
In last year's race, Kipsang broke away from his main rival Joseph Rotich in the final mile for a comfortable 30 seconds victory in two hours 19 minutes 28 seconds.
Flying the Northern Ireland flag in 2014 was Joe McAlister, who recorded a time of 2 hours 33 minutes and 9 seconds.
Patrick Monahan took first place in the wheelchair race, with second place going to Paul Hannon.
Kildare man Monahan can be immensely proud of his performance after celebrating a huge personal best of two hours, six minutes and 21 seconds.
The Naas native cut over 32 minutes off the time he set on his marathon debut when he finished third in Dublin last autumn.
Monahan was involved in a car crash six years ago, confining him to a wheelchair but he started racing in August.
Around 19,000 people took part in yesterday's race including over 11,000 in the team relay events.
The main race began at the City Hall and the 26.2 mile route finished at Ormeau Park.
Aside from the competitive racing, many of those descending on the city were doing it for themselves – or to help a good cause.