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Belfast Marathon organizers apologize after course is 460 meters too long which is better than too short making it a non race

Belfast City Marathon organisers have apologised after admitting that Sunday's course was 0.3 miles longer than it should have been.

Belfast Marathon chairman David Seaton blamed "human error", saying the lead car diverted from the route.  "Approximately 460 additional meters were added to the officially measured course of 26.2 miles," he said.

"This was due to human error, with the lead car diverting from the official route."  Earlier, John Glover, the event's course measurer, said runners had twice been "taken off the measured route".

"The route run was 469 metres in excess of the route measured and approved by the Association of International Marathons," said Mr Glover.

In a statement, Mr Seaton said "protocols will be put in place to ensure this never happens again."  He added that race organisers were in the "process of adjusting runners' times to reflect the correct distance".

Following Sunday's race, a number of questions were raised on social media about the new course's length.

Kenyans Joel Kositany and Caroline Jepchirchir took victory in the first Sunday running of the event.  Kositany secured his fourth Belfast men's triumph as he crossed the line in two hours 18 minutes 40 seconds.

Jepchirchir repeated her 2018 win as she set the fastest ever women's time in Belfast, clocking 2:36:38.

This 38th staging of the event took place on a new course.  Event chairman Seaton said that the mistake will upset a number of competitors.  "I can understand if you have been aiming for a sub three-hour marathon time and because of the mistake you have ended up being just outside three hours on the clock, that you are going to be annoyed,” he said.  

"It's a hiccup that we obviously could have done without. But I don't think it should overshadow what was a very successful day with the numbers up significantly because of the new Sunday date.

"People have been coming up to us congratulating us on the day and saying it was a great event with the spectator number also well up on previous years."

(05/12/2019) ⚡AMP
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Belfast City Marathon

Belfast City Marathon

Over 17,500 runners are expected to hit the streets of North, South, East and West of the City. The event has grown with the inclusion of new sponsors which now include Deep River Rock, Belfast City Council, U105, ASICS, Daily Mirror, Translink, Athletics Northern Ireland, Linwoods, Belfast Live, Centra, White's Oats, Podium 4 Sport, U105 and Tayto. The route will...

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Belfast Marathon more than doubled the number of participants on their new flatter and faster course

Kenyans Caroline Jepchirchir and Joel Kositany took the victories in the first Sunday running of the Belfast City Marathon.

Jepchirchir set the fastest ever women's time in Belfast, with a 2:36.38 clocking, as she repeated her 2018 win.

Kositany secured his fourth Belfast men's triumph as he crossed the line in two hours 18 minutes and 40 seconds.

This year's event was staged on a new course which organisers hoped would ensure faster times.

Jepchirchir's time was 12 seconds inside the previous Belfast course record set by Ukraine's Nataliya Lehonkova in 2013.

However, Kositany's winning time was almost five minutes slower than Negewo Ararisa's 2012 Belfast course record.

Kositany, who previously won the Belfast event in 2013, 2015 and 2016, finished eight seconds ahead over compatriot and last year's winner Eric Koech with 2017 victor Bernard Rotich completing an all-Kenyan men's podium three further seconds back.

The race has been held on a Sunday for the first time in its 38-year history.

It began at 09:00 BST at Stormont Estate in east Belfast, and ended in Ormeau Park in south Belfast. 

Belfast City Council agreed on changes to the route in June. Areas not previously covered included the Lisburn Road, Andersonstown and the Waterworks.

The new flatter route had led to a 60% increase in entries, organisers said with over 18,000 participants.

 

(05/05/2019) ⚡AMP
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Belfast City Marathon

Belfast City Marathon

Over 17,500 runners are expected to hit the streets of North, South, East and West of the City. The event has grown with the inclusion of new sponsors which now include Deep River Rock, Belfast City Council, U105, ASICS, Daily Mirror, Translink, Athletics Northern Ireland, Linwoods, Belfast Live, Centra, White's Oats, Podium 4 Sport, U105 and Tayto. The route will...

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Current champion Eric Koech returns to defend his title at Belfast City Marathon this weekend

This Sunday's 38th Deep RiverRock Belfast City Marathon has broken all entry records and is fast approaching some 5,000 applications.

This is a clear result of both the historic switch to a Sunday event plus the attraction of an entirely new faster course which eliminates the old tortuous lengthy climb on the Antrim Road.

Current champion Eric Koech returns to defend his title from a year ago when he enjoyed a two minutes victory margin over fellow Kenyan Dan Tanui in a time of 2 hrs 18 mins 19 secs.

This win made up for the 37 year old's runner up spot in 2016 when he lost out to Joel Kositany.  Eric has not raced since his victory in Belfast as he is determined to repeat last year's result. 

However, this is far from a foregone conclusion such is the caliber of the opposition which is probably the best ever.  It includes three times previous winner Kositany who took the titles with some ease in 2013, 2015 and 2016.   However, Joel has bitter memories of last year when he was joint leader with Koech and looking comfortable with less than 3 miles to go.

He then suffered the athlete's ultimate nightmare of a pulled hamstring after which he painfully struggled to the finish for 3rd over 5 minutes behind the winner.

This experience has made him more determined to achieve a record 4 victories and finally surpass the 3 wins of John Mutai over ten years ago.

The 31 year old certainly has the pedigree to do this given the fact that he has the fastest marathon best in the field of under 2 hrs 10 mins.

Koech and Kositany will however have to keep a wary eye on yet another Kenyan Bernard Rotich.  He is also a former winner from 2017 when he secured victory in 2 hrs 16 mins which is the 3rd fastest time on the old course.

Thirty-two-year-old Rotich who was also second in 2013 is possibly the biggest danger of all next Sunday as he has the best recent form.  He followed up his Dublin Marathon victory of 2017 with a very useful time in the same race last October of 2.14.18.

Gideon Kimosop is also a Kenyan from the Rift Valley who has easily the most experience of racing in the Province.  He is a treble winner of the Deep RiverRock Belfast City Half Marathon and was 2nd over the full marathon distance in 2015.

(05/03/2019) ⚡AMP
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Belfast City Marathon

Belfast City Marathon

Over 17,500 runners are expected to hit the streets of North, South, East and West of the City. The event has grown with the inclusion of new sponsors which now include Deep River Rock, Belfast City Council, U105, ASICS, Daily Mirror, Translink, Athletics Northern Ireland, Linwoods, Belfast Live, Centra, White's Oats, Podium 4 Sport, U105 and Tayto. The route will...

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New Belfast City Marathon route in 2019 will touch every part of the city

Next year will see a new look Belfast City Marathon after councillors agreed to changes to the iconic race’s route and usual race day at City Hall on Wednesday. The council’s City Growth and Regeneration Committee approved the plans with broad, cross-party support for the new look event, which for decades has seen thousands descend upon Northern Ireland’s capital city each May. Typically costing around £600k annually, the Belfast City Marathon normally takes place on a Bank Holiday Monday, however next year the starter’s pistol will go off on a Sunday morning. Chair of the City Growth committee, SDLP representative Donal Lyons, said the marathon is a great family day out and the 2019 routes should benefit local traders. "The change of day will go down well, because it will allow Sunday marathon runners the day to recovery on Monday and hopefully give Belfast a potential boost for the our tourism trade," he added. Sinn Fein's new council group leader Ciaran Beattie spoke following the meeting and said his party hope "route number one" of the two proposed routes will now go through a successful public consultation with few, if any, speed bumps. "We're really happy, this will be the most balanced marathon yet in terms of geography and it will touch every part of our city," he said. (06/30/2018) ⚡AMP
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