Northern Ireland news

Man who died running the Belfast Marathon is named as Stephen Heaney

This picture of Stephen Heaney from Limavady was taken on the morning of the Belfast Marathon

A MAN who  died while taking part in his first marathon has been named as 50-year-old Stephen Heaney from Limavady.

The runner, pictured on the morning of Monday's Belfast Marathon, fell ill around five-and-a-half miles into the race.

He collapsed on the Sydenham Bypass, just before 10am. It is understood fellow runners tried to revive him before paramedics arrived.

The man later died at Belfast's Royal Victoria Hospital. A post mortem examination is due to be carried out within days.

DUP Belfast councillor Brian Kingston, who is a keen marathon runner, said he was saddened by the news.

"My understanding was that this was his first marathon but he was someone who was reasonably fit," he said.

Mr Kingston said David Seaton, chairman of the marathon board, and another senior marathon manager visited the man's family in hospital to express their condolences.

"At this stage we do not know if there was an underlying medical condition," he said.

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