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James McIlroy: We have 20 Olympians in the field and hope records will tumble at Antrim Coast Half Marathon

 

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In running: James McIlroy

In running: James McIlroy

Jo Pavey

Jo Pavey

Ferry special: Larne Athletic Club members launch the P&O sponsored Antrim Coast Half Marathon, (from left) Ruth Moore (club secretary and assistant race director), Dani McIlroy, James McIlroy, Jayne Liddle (race committee) and Billy Thompson (race director)

Ferry special: Larne Athletic Club members launch the P&O sponsored Antrim Coast Half Marathon, (from left) Ruth Moore (club secretary and assistant race director), Dani McIlroy, James McIlroy, Jayne Liddle (race committee) and Billy Thompson (race director)

In running: James McIlroy

James McIlroy comes from a family steeped in football but the Larne man is aiming to bring big-time athletics back to Northern Ireland with a bang thanks to the sport's first major post-lockdown event.

McIlroy - an Olympic athlete formerly on the books of Larne FC and grandson of Belfast Celtic legend Syd McIlroy - is a driving force behind next month's new Antrim Coast Half Marathon and is confident the high-class race will not only go ahead despite the current Covid restrictions but also smash several long-standing records in the process.

McIlroy is in charge of the elite side of the event which will see big names like Jo Pavey - aiming for a record-equalling sixth Olympics next year - battle it out on September 12 on a new course designed for speed, while race director Billy Thompson has merged the best aspects of the highly successful Larne Half Marathon into the new race, which was postponed in March due to the lockdown.