Joel Kositany created history when he scored his fourth individual victory in the 38th Deep RiverRock Belfast City Marathon as he headed a Kenyan clean sweep.
There was a massive field of over 4000 starters in the event which was held on Sunday for the first time over a new course starting at Stormont.
The Kenyans quickly took control with Kositany, winner in 2013, 2015 and 2016, reigning champion Eric Koech, 2017 winner Bernard Rotich, marathon debutant Gideon Kurgat and Gideon Kimosop all prominent along with Abdel El Mouaziz of Morocco.
At this stage Jarlath McKenna and Vincent McKenna were leading locals. Jim Corbett was really moving as he headed the Wheelchairs.
Reigning champion Caroline Jepchirchir also from Kenya and Shewaye Wolde Meskel from Ethiopia were locked together in the Ladies with local runner Gladys Ganiel battling for third with Vira Ovcharuk of Ukraine.
Kositany, Koech and Rotich opened a gap over Tanui after half distance and it was 31-year-old Kositany who finished the strongest to come in for a popular victory by 10 seconds from Koech with Rotich a further four seconds back. El Mouaziz moved up to fourth ahead of Tanui and Jarlath McKenna who was top home runner for the fourth successive year. Jarlath took the Northern Ireland and Ulster title from Vincent McKenna and Max Travers, who just beat Pierce McCullagh.
Caroline Jepchirchir continued her duel with Shewaye Wolde Meskel until the closing stages when she opened up to cross the line in 2:36:38, the fastest winning time on record. Meskel was second with Vira Ovcheruk taking third from Gladys Ganiel.
Ganiel took the Northern Ireland and Ulster title from Catherine Johnston and Louise Smith.
Jim Corbett continued his majestic progress to take the Wheelchairs from Karol Doherty and James Divin. Team Pure Running took the five person relay from Annadale Striders.
Meanwhile, 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 metres 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.”
Competitors times are to be re-adjusted