The Deep RiverRock Belfast City Marathon has broken its entry record for the tenth successive year.
More than 18,000 people have signed up for the May Day extravaganza.
Some 3,300 runners have entered the main 26.2 mile race – that’s 400 more than took part in 2009, and just 300 shy of the all-time high entry back in the early 80s. They will be joined by 11,000 relay runners, as well as 2,350 walkers and 1,500 fun runners – giving a grand total of 18,150 participants, 900 more than this time last year.
“The number of people taking up running and competing, particularly in road racing events, is an all-time peak, and this is reflected in the continuing phenomenal interest in the Marathon, year on year,” commented Danny
O’Connor, Chairman of the event’s organizing committee.
Proving that every cloud can have a silver lining, the Belfast event benefitted from a last minute rush of entries at the end of last week, from runners due to take part in other marathons but unable to do so because of the recent grounding of flights. This included 60 runners from the Republic who were due to compete in Boston, as well as others who were unsure if they would make it over in time for this weekend’s London Marathon.
The entry list for this year’s main marathon is led by the Irish husband and wife team of Maria McCambridge and Gary Crossan. Former Olympian McCambridge is hoping to beat her personal best time of 2:35:29, set in Paris last year and four minutes inside the current Belfast women’s record. She’ll receive plenty of support from husband Crossan, runner-up here in 2002: however, he is just returning from injury so beating his personal best of 2:19 may be too much of a challenge.
Other top female names include Moldova’s Natalie Cerches and Ethiopia’s Enatesh Tadese, both of whom have personal best times of around ten minutes slower than McCambridge.
For the first time this year, the Marathon is introducing pacers, for those seeking to finish the run in times of three hours, 3.5 hours, four hours and 4.5 hours. Runners wishing to avail of the pacers can sign up at the Marathon Expo, which takes place in the City Hall from Thursday 29 April through to Sunday 2 May, alongside race registration and pack collection.
Check the Marathon website, www.belfastcitymarathon.com, for details of opening times.
The 2010 Deep RiverRock Belfast City Marathon takes place on May Day Bank Holiday Monday, 3 May, starting at the City Hall at 9am and finishing at Ormeau Park.
The Deep RiverRock Belfast City Marathon is also sponsored by Aer Lingus, Belfast City Council, Charles Hurst Renault, New Balance, Sport Northern Ireland, Tayto, Translink and Up and Running. Media partners are the Daily Mirror and U105. Official accommodation partner is Premier Inn.
The 2010 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.