Northern Ireland news

Belfast City Marathon to be held on a Sunday

The Belfast City Marathon will take place on a Sunday from next year. Picture by Mal McCann
Andrew Madden

NEXT year will see a new look Belfast City Marathon after councillors last night agreed the iconic race should be held on a Sunday.

Changes are also expected to be made to the race route, which could see runners take on roads not used as part of the marathon before.

Belfast City Council's 'City Growth and Regeneration' committee approved the plans with cross-party support for the changes to the event, which for decades has been held on May Day bank holiday Monday.

But from next year, the starter's pistol will go off on a Sunday morning.

Changing the day of the race was recommended to organisers in a request from the Belfast Chamber of Trade and Commerce, which said the first May Bank Holiday should be a significant trading day and a move to a Sunday would boost visitor numbers.

SDLP councillor Donal Lyons said: "The change of day will go down well, because it will allow Sunday marathon runners the day to recovery on Monday and hopefully give Belfast a potential boost for the our tourism trade".

Two new route proposals will be considered through public consultation.

Sinn Féin's Ciaran Beattie said: "It will now go down streets and neighbourhoods that it hasn't been before - the Lisburn Road, Finaghy to Anderstown and finishing in Ormeau.

"Parts of south Belfast and the Waterworks will now be included and, of course, everyone along the whole route will be consulted over any concerns."

The council also heard more stewards will be required to handle crowds along the new route, costing an extra £50,000, bringing the potential bill for next year’s event to around £650,000.

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