Belfast politician Brian Kingston takes on Boston Marathon in USA for NI Hospice

A former Lord Mayor of Belfast who raised over £1,000 for charity by running the world-famous Boston marathon has thanked the public for their support.

DUP Alderman Brian Kingston ran the marathon in an impressive time of just over three-and-a-half hours, in aid of the Northern Ireland Hospice.

His fundraising target of £1,000 was easily surpassed thanks to donations from dozens of supporters through the online ‘JustGiving’ fundraising platform.

Mr Kingston, in a social media update from America following his marathon efforts, said: “Finished the Boston Marathon in 3:35:47 and raised over £1,200 for the Northern Ireland Hospice.

Brian Kingston after completing the Boston Marathon

“A well-organised event and tremendous support from people along the route.”

Mr Kingston – a member of both the Orange Order and Royal Black Institution – admitted that he “struggled over the last few miles after the four long hills around Newton including ‘Heartbreak Hill’.”

He added: “Many thanks again to everyone who supported this fundraising effort for the worthy cause of the Northern Ireland Hospice.”

Mr Kingston, who was Lord Mayor of Belfast in 2016, said of the charity: “The Hospice does tremendous work with families across Northern Ireland providing end of life palliative care and support, in people’s own homes and at the Hospice premises on Somerton Road, which we are fortunate to have in North Belfast. “I have known a number of families and individuals over the years who have benefitted from the care and support of the Hospice at the most difficult times.”

A keen marathon runner, Mr Kingston said on his fundraising page that it has been “a dream of mine for some years to complete the six World Marathon Majors”.

In 2016, during his time as Lord Mayor of the city, he officially opened the Belfast Marathon and then completed it in an impressive time of three hours and 32 minutes.

The Boston Marathon is one of the world’s best known races with a history stretching back well over 100 years to 1897 that traditionally takes place on the United States’ Patriot Day – the third Monday of April.

It is the world’s oldest annual marathon, having been inspired by the revival of marathon running for the first modern Olympic Games the previous year, in 1896 in Athens, Greece.

It continued even through the Great Depression, and the First and Second World Wars, but was cancelled for the first year in its history in 2020 due to the coronavirus pandemic.

It went ahead last year in October. Alongside the Tokyo, Berlin, New York, London and Chicago marathons, it is one of the six ‘World Marathon Majors’ championship series that attracts the world’s best runners. It was also the subject of a terrorist attack in 2013 when two homemade bombs went off, killing three spectators and injuring hundreds.