Over 3,000 competitive athletes and fun runners pounded the streets of Belfast yesterday in the city’s first ever Deep River Rock half marathon.
The inaugural event got under way from City Hall at 9am, with the elite athletes reaching the Mary Peters Track finishing line just over an hour later.
First home was Stephen Scullion in a time of one hour six minutes and 55 seconds (1:06:55).
The first female to finish was Irish international triathlete Aileen Reid in 1:19:30 – just one week after finishing runner up in the grand final race in the World Triathlon series in London.
Many of the 200 fun runners created a colourful spectacle as they ran and walked the 13.1-mile route to raise money for various charities.
This year’s official charity partner was Cancer Focus NI.
The successful half marathon could pave the way for the annual full marathon to switch from its traditional Bank Holiday Monday slot in May to the Sunday before.
At the launch of the half marathon earlier this year, Danny O’Connor of the Belfast City Marathon Ltd board, told the Belfast Media Group that no one on the company’s board had any concerns about a move from Monday to a Sunday morning.
“However, Belfast City Council need to make a decision,” he said.
“At the moment, we have a three-year commitment to our sponsors, ending after the 2014 race. So any change won’t happen until after that, particularly if there’s controversy involved. That wouldn’t be fair on the sponsors we have lined up behind us.
“We have a commitment to them, we’ll honour that and then we’ll look at it more seriously.”
Mr O’Connor added: “Hopefully by then Belfast City Council will have taken a step with the traders and churches and brought everyone on board who needs to be brought on board.”