FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Olympic Champion Takes up Belfast Challenge
For the first time in the event's history, a former Olympic champion is to
take part in next week's Deep RiverRock Belfast City Marathon.
Hunde Gezahegne Abere won the gold medal in Sydney in 2000 - and went on to
become World Champion the following year. Most recently, the Ethiopian
runner won last month's Barcelona Marathon.
Abere - also a former winner of the London Marathon - will face stiff
competition, not least from double Belfast winner Urga Negewo. Other top
African runners expected to dominate the race for podium places are fellow
Ethiopians Wosen Zeleke Demse, Ashenafi Eshetu Deme and Birhanu Niguse
Melese, and the Kenyan trio of Joel Kipsang Kositany, James Rotich and
Freddy Sittuk, who finished fifth in Belfast 12 months ago.
The leading local runner is Irish international Thomas Frazer, of St
Malachy's AC, who will be seeking to emulate his personal best time of 2hrs
Top challenger for honours in the women's race will be 21-year old
Ethiopian Lemlem Berbe Yachem, who set a personal best of 2hrs 34mins
38secs which she won the Barcelona Marathon on St Patrick's Day past. Her
biggest challenge is expected to come from Kenya's Helen Chereno Koskei,
who has a personal best of 2:29:33 and has beaten the 2hrs 40 barrier on
eight occasions, while Russia's Yelena Kozhevnikova will be seeking to
improve on the second place she has secured in each of the last two years.
Other top women include current Edinburgh and Toulouse champion Nataliya
Lehonkova, of the Ukraine, Kenya's Sarah Kerubo Kebaso, and the Ethiopian
trio of Zenabu Haftu Abay, Yenalem Buli and Tsehai Desalegn Adhana
More than 17,500 people are expected to take part in the 2013 Deep
RiverRock Belfast City Marathon, which starts at the front of City Hall at
9am on Monday (May 6th). This year's event will be preceded by a short
silence, in memory of those killed and injured in the bomb attack on the
Boston Marathon earlier this month.
All events - the main Marathon, the Team Relay, the nine-mile walk and the
Fun Run - finish at Ormeau Park. Motorists are warned to expect delays
along the 26.2 mile route, details of which can be found on the official
The Deep RiverRock Belfast City Marathon takes place on Monday May 6th and
is sponsored by Athletics Northern Ireland, Belfast City Council, Daily
Mirror, Podium 4 Sport, Saucony, Sport Northern Ireland, Tayto, Translink
and U105. This year's official charity is Cancer Focus Northern Ireland
(the new name for the Ulster Cancer Foundation).