| 6.1°C Belfast

Record breaking numbers take part in city marathon

Approximately 20,000 people took part in Monday’s 30th Belfast City Marathon.

Facing a gruelling challenge with soaring temperatures, competitors in the main marathon followed the same route as the wheelchair race, the team relay event and the marathon walk, with most of the action kicking off at City Hall at 9am before culminating in Ormeau Park.

Marathon organisers provided park and ride facilities for spectators and participants to get to and from the Ozone complex in Ormeau Park, south Belfast. The free bus service, which operated every five minutes, departed from Belfast City Council car parks in Ormeau Avenue and Cromac Street.

Jacob Chesire from Kenya won this year's main event in a record-breaking time of two hours, 14 minutes and 56 seconds.

The previous record was two hours, 15 minutes and 51 seconds by Marty Deane in 1985.

Race director David Seaton said the event was “very good” for Belfast with the biggest number of entrants ever.

He said: “We have 21,000 people of all shapes, sizes and athletic abilities. It is the biggest entry we have ever had over the years. We, as organisers, are delighted.”

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Mr Seaton said the conditions were perhaps a little warm for those running the full marathon.

He continued: “It will be okay for the fun runners and, maybe, the relay runners. But for some of the marathon runners, out for three or three and a half hours, it could be pretty awkward.”

What a difference the last three decades have made to the Belfast Marathon.

The magical 20,000 figure was broken for the first time — this includes a record 3,544 entries in the marathon itself.

The 20,000 figure has only ever been achieved once before in Northern Ireland, when up to 25,000 people set out from the old Maysfield Leisure Centre to support Bob Geldof's Run the World event in May, 1985.

Sunday, May 22, marks the 25th anniversary of that event, now named Third World Run, and which takes place annually in Ormeau Park.

For more information or to register visit www.thirdworldrun.org.

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