FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Belfast Marathon Smashes All Entry Records
Some 34,500 feet will be pounding the streets of Belfast on May Day Bank
Holiday Monday in the most successful Deep RiverRock Belfast City Marathon
A total of 17,250 people have signed up for the 28th running of Northern
Ireland's biggest participatory sporting event on Monday 4 May.
An astonishing 2,900 runners will be taking part in the main Marathon –
that's more than a third again more than took part in the 2008 race.
Those seeking to complete the full 26.2 miles will be joined by more than
2,150 relay teams, each made up of five people, and 2,300 walkers and 1,300
"Road racing is one of the fastest growing sports and this is evidenced by
the absolutely huge interest in this year's Marathon," said Danny O'Connor,
Chairman of the Deep RiverRock Belfast City Marathon Organizing Committee.
While the vast majority of the entrants hail from the British Isles, the
international appeal of Belfast is shown by entries from 24 different
countries, including Kenya, Moldova, the Ukraine, Cyprus, the United Arab
Emirates, France, Germany, Italy, Spain, the United States, Hungary,
Switzerland, Indonesia, Canada, Qatar, the Netherlands and Iceland.
Leading the entry list once again is Kenya's John Mutai, who no doubt will
be looking to make it a hat-trick of wins on May Day, following his
emphatic victories in both 2007 and 2008. His main challenge will come
from Ukraine's Vyachesla Prikhadko, who finished third last year, and
fellow Kenyan Zak Kihara.
The local field is headed by the veteran Alan McCullough, who is joined by
Ryan McCullough and Sergiu Ciobanu.
Heading the female entries is 2006 winner, Joyce Kandia, who laid down her
marker for 2009 with an impressive victory in the Titanic Quarter 10K
warm-up race earlier this month. Kandia's closest challenge is likely to
come from Moldova's Svetlana Shepela.
The most experienced, and most travelled, entrant is Coleraine veteran
Peter Ferris, who is running his 319th marathon – an Irish record. Peter
also is running marathons at both the North and South Poles this year.
Hartman Stempfer is another well travelled entrant. His ambition is to
complete a marathon in every European country. He took part in 26 races in
2006, 37 in 2007 and a further 27 last year.
The Deep RiverRock Belfast City Marathon once again starts at City Hall at
9am and finishes in Ormeau Park, with the route taking in all parts of the
city, from Sydenham to the Falls Road, Whitehouse to the Ravenhill Road.
For the first time, the Fun Run will finish under the main gantry, and
Ormeau Park once again will offer plenty of attractions for the runners,
their families and supporters. There will be a fun fair, food stalls, the
U105 roadshow, a speed run for people to test their fitness – and a chance
to get up close to a Team Renault Formula One car.
Race packs can be collected from Marathon headquarters in Sir Thomas and
Lady Dixon Park, on the Upper Malone Road, on Friday 1st May 12noon – 8pm,
Saturday 2nd May 10am – 8pm and Sunday 3rd May 12noon – 4pm. A special
Translink shuttle service will operate between 1-5pm on Saturday 2nd May
and 12noon – 4pm on Sunday 3rd May.
Translink also will be operating a free shuttle bus service on Bank Holiday
Monday, which will run every five minutes between Ormeau Park and the
Belfast City Council car parks on Ormeau Avenue (opposite Katie Daly's) and
Cromac Street between 10am and 6pm.
On Monday, motorists can expect some disruption throughout the morning and
early afternoon, although this will be kept to a minimum.
While the majority of roads will remain open throughout the event, the area
around City Hall will be closed to through traffic between approximately
7.30am and 9.30am. Disruption also can be expected along the Albertbridge
Road, Holywood Road and Sydenham Bypass until shortly after 11am.
The front runners are expected to pass back through the city centre, en
route to the Falls Road, at around 9.40am. The area surrounding Victoria
Street will be disrupted from 9.30am – 10.30am.
Disruption also can be expected around the four changeover points for the
Marathon Relay event. At the first relay point at Bridge End, the road
will be closed from 6am – 2pm. Hillview Road will be closed from 9am –
2pm, while Gideon's Green and Corporation Street will be closed from 6am –
Disruption also can be expected on the country-bound Antrim Road, from
around 9.45am until around 11am, as the runners will still be in a large
group as they undertake one of the race's longest straight and challenging
Belfast Zoo will be open as normal, with diversions in place for access.
Stena Line passengers need to be aware of earlier checking times due to
delays in the Duncrue area. For more information, visit
Ormeau Embankment will be closed from 7.30am until after 6pm.
The Deep RiverRock Belfast City Marathon is sponsored by Aer Lingus,
Belfast City Council, Charles Hurst Renault, Eventsec, New Balance, Sport
Northern Ireland, Translink, Reach EPS, Tayto and Up and Running. Media
partners are the Daily Mirror and U105. Official accommodation partner is
The 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.
For full details of the 2009 Deep RiverRock Belfast City Marathon,
including online entry, visit www.belfastcitymarathon.com