VIDEO: Belfast marathon begins!

A grown man dressed as a schoolgirl and a Star Wars stormtrooper were among those who shot off from the start line of the Belfast Marathon this morning.

There are around 3,000 participants competing in the full marathon, with many thousands more taking part in other events including the fun run, the relay race and five wheelchair race competitors.

The runners are off!

The runners are off!

The latter were among the first to set out, using long racing-style wheelchairs to propel them along Chichester Street.

The very first runners are expected to reach the finishing line at Ormeau Park at roughly 11.15am.

One of those trying his hand at a 6.2-mile relay leg, which clad in fancy dress, was Luke McCall, a 20-year-old nursing student from Ballymena.

His costume depicted him being carried on the shoulders of a leprechaun, and he was not the only one to have chosen such outlandish garb.

Luke McCall of Ballymena

Luke McCall of Ballymena

“There’s a horse and a gnome and a dragon going round the course,” he said, adding that he had decided to take part “for a bit of craic.”