A record 20,000 people will take part in the 30th anniversary Deep RiverRock Belfast City Marathon this coming May Day Bank Holiday Monday.
On today fortnight (2 May), a total 0f 3,455 runners are taking part in the main event. They will be joined by 12,105 competitors in the Team Relay, 2,587 walkers and 1,763 fun runners.
“It’s really fantastic to have broken the 20,000 barrier for the first time, and we look forward to the biggest and best Deep RiverRock Belfast City Marathon in two weeks’ time,” commented Danny O’Connor, chairman of the event’s organizing committee.
Heading up the main Marathon field is Kenya’s John Mutai, who is looking to make up for last year’s disappointment by becoming the first person to win the Belfast race four times – a feat denied him 12 months ago when countryman Urgu Negewo pipped him to the finish line by just seven seconds.
The Kenyan will face stiff competition from Andriy Toptun, of the Ukraine, and England’s Matt Pierson, as well as three of his compatriots – Jacob Kipkorir Chesire, former Olympic 3000m steeplechase champion Reuben Kosgei and Freddy Sittuk. The top Northern Ireland entrant is two-time previous winner, Tommy Hughes.
Heading the women’s field is Namibia’s Hilalia Johannes, who will be up against a powerful Russian trio, in the shape of Tatiana Vilosova, Yelena Kozhevnikova and Nadezda Povalyeava – although local girl Heather Ardis must also be strongly fancied.
The 2011 Deep RiverRock Belfast City Marathon starts from the front of City Hall at 9am on Monday 2 May, and finishes at Ormeau Park. The route takes in east, west, north and south Belfast. Information on race timings can be found at www.belfastcitymarathon.com www.belfastcitymarathon.com
The Deep RiverRock Belfast City Marathon is also sponsored by ASICS sportswear, Belfast City Council, Reach EPS, Sport Northern Ireland, Tayto, Translink and Up and Running. Media partners are the Daily Mirror and U105. Official accommodation partner is Premier Inn and official vehicle provider is the Donnelly Group.
The 2011 Deep RiverRock Belfast City Marathon is organised by Belfast City Marathon Ltd., in partnership with Athletics Northern Ireland, Belfast City Council, the Department for Regional Development, Newtownabbey Borough Council, the Police Service of Northern Ireland, Sustrans and Translink. The official charities for 2011 are Macmillan Cancer Support and Transplant Sport UK.