Belfast Telegraph

Tragic Belfast runner set off to complete 'dream first marathon'

Man dies six miles into first marathon

By Mark Edwards

A man aged in his 50s has died after collapsing during the Belfast Marathon.

The man collapsed six miles into the race and received medical attention from first aiders and paramedics at the scene near the Sydenham Bypass.

It's understood the man, from Northern Ireland, was a keen runner but was taking part in what was his first marathon.

John Glover of Athletics Northern Ireland said the death was an "absolute tragedy".

"It makes it all the more tragic that he set out this morning to achieve what was obviously a dream," he told the BBC.

"You don't enter 26 miles lightly and I would imagine the man has done a consider amount of training to take on the task.

"On behalf of all the athletic community we are really deeply sorry for what has happened."

More: Belfast City Marathon: Photos from start, race and finishing line plus the top 100 finishers

A spokeswoman for the marathon said medics were at the man's side very quickly.

She added: "Two of our senior management team went to the hospital to visit the family of the deceased to express their condolences. The family have asked for privacy at this time.

"It was around mile six, which is very early in the race and we responded very quickly with our first aid teams providing the best care that they could. He went to hospital but sadly passed away."

Former Belfast Lord Mayor Brian Kingston, who is a keen runner and has in the past completed the marathon offered his condolences to the family on behalf of all associated with the event and the city's running community.

He said: "It's the worst possible news, very sad indeed.

"Today is about fitness, achievement, about people wanting to push themselves and to achieve a great physical feat and for a man to have died is the worst possible news."

A spokesman for Northern Ireland Ambulance Service (NIAS) said: "We received a 999 call at 9:55 on Monday to report that a male runner, approximately 50 years old, in the Belfast Marathon had collapsed on the Sydenham Bypass.

"NIAS were on scene within four minutes having dispatched a Rapid Response Paramedic and an A&E crew.

"The patient was assessed and, following initial treatment at the scene, was brought by ambulance to Royal Victoria Hospital."

Around 17,000 people entered the race, which was won by Eric Koech, from Kenya.

The Belfast City Marathon is one of the city's showpiece events and attracts thousands of spectators and competitors who also take part in fun runs and relays to raise money for charity.

The event is in its 37th and it's thought to have been around 30 years since the last death during the marathon.

The PSNI said a post mortem examination will be carried out but the death was not being treated as suspicious.

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