Celebrating 35 years of the Belfast City Marathon, 10 years for Deep RiverRock as title sponsor, and a new charity partner Mencap for the next three years; the much-loved Deep RiverRock Belfast City Marathon continues to capture the hearts and minds of the local community as well as drawing more and more athletes from at home and abroad.
The 2016 Deep River Rock Belfast City Marathon, which will take place on May Day Bank Holiday, 2nd May, was officially launched this morning (29 September 2015) by Lord Mayor Councillor Arder Carson and David Seaton, Technical Race Director at Coca-Cola HBC’s Visitor Experience in Knockmore Hill.
At the launch in Lisburn, Councillor Carson said: “35 years ago Belfast City Council took the decision to stage the first Belfast City Marathon and, over the intervening years, the event has gone from strength to strength. When other marathons fell by the wayside, Belfast continued to grow. Now, with the resurgence of interest in running – especially as a free and efficient way of getting and staying fit – we are benefiting from record entry numbers each and every year.”
“While the marathon is undoubtedly a serious business, especially for competitive runners, it is also about having fun and enjoying yourself – whether you are a serious runner, or taking part in the relay with a team of friends or just cheering the runners along.
“Belfast, quite rightly, is regarded as one of the world’s friendliest marathons, and runners from near and far are always encouraged by the warmth of the support they find in all four corners of our city. Once again, I would urge the people of Belfast to turn out and support the runners on May Day – whether it be by offering a glass of water or a slice of fruit, or merely an encouraging word,” concluded Councillor Carson
Technical Race Director David Seaton said: “Following the success of our secondary event, the 3rd ASICS Belfast City Half Marathon last Sunday (20 September 2015), we are confident that entries for the Main Marathon Run will increase as entrants look to set new goals and push themselves to tackle the 26.2mile distance.”
In addition to the Deep RiverRock Belfast City Marathon being the biggest single participatory sporting event in Northern Ireland, it is also one of the biggest fundraising events, with almost every runner or walker taking part to benefit charity.
“I’m delighted to announce that, in 2016, we will be supporting the magnificent work of Mencap, as our officially nominated charity,” announced David Seaton.
Margaret Kelly, Director of Mencap in Northern Ireland, said; “Mencap’s charity partnership with Deep RiverRock Belfast City Marathon marks the first time the partnership has been extended to three years – it’s beyond exciting!
“Whether participants decide to run the full marathon, take part in the fun run, the eight mile walk, the wheelchair challenge or the relay race – we encourage you all to do it for Mencap please! You have a great opportunity to fundraise to help children with a learning disability as we are about to open our new Mencap Centre for children and families.
“We are steadily building towards our fundraising target of £1.7million to bring this new centre to life. Every penny raised by those doing the marathon for Mencap will stay in Northern Ireland – opening our new Mencap Centre is just the first step – we want to create and launch new services to reach even more children with a learning disability across NI. This centre could not have been built without the generosity of local people and once again, we ask them to take a big step forward, take the marathon challenge and ‘do it for Mencap!”
Also celebrating the 10th year as title sponsor, Deep RiverRock’s Sponsorship Manger, Rob Crabbe said: "As Northern Ireland’s favourite water brand with its roots in Tullynacross, Co. Antrim, Deep RiverRock is delighted to continue its long standing partnership with Belfast City Marathon in 2016.
“With a shared vision to encourage more people to lead active and hydrated lifestyles, Deep RiverRock’s partnership with Belfast City Marathon is a perfect fit. Deep RiverRock is proud to be associated with such a world class event that resonates so well with the local community and as a company we are honoured to have played a part in the success of what is now a key event in Northern Ireland’s sporting calendar.”
David Seaton also highlighted that in celebration of the 35th year the website – www.BelfastCityMarathom.com – has been re-designed to make it more user friendly for all smart phones and tablets to ensure that participants can register quickly and easily.
He said: “For the first time in 2016, all Team Relay runners will have the opportunity to get their own personal time as well as their team’s time through chip timing. This will enable all participants to test their training and compete with over 2,000 people in each leg. Full details of prizes will be announced later in the year.
“With our media partner, the Daily Mirror, we are also offering one lucky organisation the chance to win five hospitality seats at the Down Royal Festival in June 2016 where all members of the winning team will get their entrance race card, 3-course meal and entertainment provided for FREE. So what better incentive to have a team day out – tick the Corporate Challenge when registering,” he concluded.