Thousands take to the streets for marathon

Whiteabbey runners who took part in the marathon in memory of Debbie Sloan and James Maguire. The team raised vital funds for the Whiteabbey Community Centre. Team members from left to right are Sean Cowler, Ashley Maguire, David McKinley, Caroline McKinley and Raymond Sloan.
Whiteabbey runners who took part in the marathon in memory of Debbie Sloan and James Maguire. The team raised vital funds for the Whiteabbey Community Centre. Team members from left to right are Sean Cowler, Ashley Maguire, David McKinley, Caroline McKinley and Raymond Sloan.

THOUSANDS of people raced through the borough as part of the annual Belfast City Marathon on May 6.

Temperatures soared, making conditions difficult for the 18,000 or so competitors who took part in the full 26.2mile run, the relay race, fun run and walk.

The event, which passes through the borough at Longlands and up to Gideon’s Green before heading back to the city along the Loughshore towpath, is Ireland’s biggest charity fundraiser.

Many of those taking part were from the borough and ran for various causes, or in memory of loved ones.

Among those taking part in Monday’s run was Newtownabbey councillor Thomas Hogg.

Stiff, sore and tired, he told the Times he enjoyed the experience of running in his first marathon in a time of four hours and 20 minutes.

“I had signed up for the marathon at the last minute and had not got in as much training as I would have liked,” he said.

“This was my first marathon, although I had completed the Lisburn and Omagh half marathons and my mum Florence had recently done the Dublin marathon, so I did not want to be upstaged.

“I had no real time in mind, although I had been advised that you normally hit the wall at the 20-mile mark, I think I hit it after one mile.

“But I persevered and I had advertised my involvement on Twitter, so there was no chance of me pulling out.

“My aunt, Irene Clements also entered Monday’s run and managed to finish 30 minutes ahead of me - which is a bit of a sore point for me.”
He added: “I didn’t find it too difficult and might be tempted to enter into next year’s.

“There was a good buzz around the route and plenty of encouragement from the crowd.

“And it was good to see some familiar faces along the Newtownabbey leg of the route at Longlands and Whitehouse.”

• See more pictures in this week’s Times...