Springwell Running Club - Press Release – May 5th 2019
Belfast City Marathon
Sunday 5th May was the first time that the Belfast City Marathon was held on a Sunday, with a new route through the city designed to reinvigorate an event that had struggled to attract marathon runners in recent years.
The announced changes saw 4800 marathon runners entering, an increase of almost 2000 on the 2018 event, and while the feedback on the course from both runners and spectators has been overwhelmingly positive the all consuming headline of the day is that the runners where misdirected on the course, resulting in over 460 metres being added to their efforts.
With perfect weather conditions for marathon running the event started on the Prince of Wales Avenue in the Stormont Estate with runners making their way onto the Upper Newtownards Road towards Belfast city centre. After turning onto the Beersbridge Road competitors were meant to run along Clara Street to the Castlereagh Road, but the lead vehicle continued past the turn, to the junction of the Beersbridge and Castlereagh Road before rejoining the official course.
The new course took runners past the City Hall, out the Donegall Road to the Rise Sculpture and along the Lisburn Road before running under the M1 and along the Andersonstown and Springfield Road to the Waterworks. With eight miles still to go the runners turned back towards the city and onto the Towpath along the River Lagan to finish in Ormeau Park.
The deviation from the official course and the increase in the distance has created a problem for the organisers who have had to implement well established protocols to reassess competitor’s times. Many runners have invested a lot of time and effort training for this event, not only to challenge their personal bests but also to achieve qualifying times for the Abbots World Marathon Majors around the world. The World Majors are London, Berlin, Boston, New York, Chicago and Tokyo and runners are able to earn coveted places for these events by running qualifying times on certified marathon courses, such as Belfast.
At the time of writing the Deep RiverRock Belfast City Marathon committee have announced that, "In the meantime, we are in the process of adjusting runner’s times to reflect the correct distance.”
Springwell RC was well represented at the event with Chris Denton the first club member home in an uncorrected time of 2.45.07. A personal best and just seven seconds off a qualifying time for the London Marathon. Jason Scott 2.52.50, Jimmy Stewart 3.00.26 and Andy Dowey 3.03.08 have all run personal bests and hopefully the amended results will accurately reflect their efforts.