Belfast City Marathon: Race has record entrant numbers

Thousands of runners have taken part in the 2024 Belfast City Marathon.

This year had a record number of entrants aiming to complete the 26.2-mile course.

There were numerous road closures and traffic disruption as the route made its way across the city.

Kenyans Mathew Kiplimo Kembo and Beatrice Jepkemei won the men's and women's races respectively.

Jepkemei's winning time of 2:35:03 cut one minute and 47 seconds off the previous women's Belfast mark.

The winning time in the men's race was 2:14:44.

More than 5,000 marathon participants and 12,500 relay runners each running one of the route's five legs were registered to take part.

More than 1,000 participants took part in an eight-mile walk.

Among those who took part in the event were sisters Jenny and Karen Keery from Bangor who are running for Transplant Sport Northern Ireland.

"Twelve years ago Karen had a kidney transplant and she had my left kidney," Jenny said.

"Ever since the operation we have had a main focus on staying fit and healthy - as a living donor I am prone to high blood pressure."

She added: "I have walked a marathon, but I have never physically run 26.2 miles.

"I will feel absolutely delighted, maybe a little bit emotional, if I actually get to the finish line."

The highest placed runner from Northern Ireland was Eskander Turki Osman of Annadale Striders who was running his first ever marathon.

"It was great, I can run faster than this one, my time, but it's OK for now," he said.

The winner of the wheelchair race was Paul Hannan.

"I found the course very good, it's better than the last course, it's a lot flatter," he said.

"Great support the whole way round," he added.

'The atmosphere was jubilant'

BBC News NI's Bernadette Allen

The rain held off this morning as thousands of runners gathered at Stormont for the Belfast City Marathon.

Many runners just about made it to the finish line before the claxon, but the atmosphere was jubilant - and competitors remarked that it was lovely to be there

Stormont Park was filled with spectators who had all got up early to see friends and family take part, many of whom were running the race for the first time.

The clean up operation at Stormont began just as soon as the runners had passed - as the bulk of competitors made their way to Victoria Street in the centre of the city.

Pat and Jack Miller - father and son running the full marathon
Father and son Pat and Jack Miller are running the full marathon [BBC]

Pat Miller was planning to run the full marathon on Sunday.

He's a seasoned runner having completed last year's event and also the London Marathon several years ago.

"I'm still trying to get under four hours and this year my son's joining me," he told BBC News NI.

When asked if he was hoping to beat his father, first-time runner Jack answered confidently: "I know I am."

What is the Belfast Marathon route?

Map showing the marathon route
The marathon starts at Stormont in east Belfast and finishes in Ormeau Park in south Belfast [BBC]

The marathon started at Stormont at 09:00 and took in all areas of the city - the route started in the east before going to the south west, north and then back to the south again by the time runners crossed the finish line in Ormeau Park.

You can have a look at projected times for participants across the marathon route here.

Spectators could stand at any point along the route to spectate and offer any encouragement.

Was there any traffic disruption?

There was some disruption for the duration of the marathon, from about 06:00 BST until 16:30.

Roads along the route closed and opened again, wholly or partially on a staggered basis, as marathon runners passed through.

However, organisers said that once participants had passed points on the route, roads were to reopen as quickly as possible.

What were the team relay changeover points?

Marathon leaders
The leaders of this year's race pass in Belfast city centre [BBC]

The team relay consists of five legs, of varying distance, with changeover points across the route:

  • Leg 1: Stormont Estate to Montgomery Road, 4 miles

  • Leg 2: Montgomery Road to Boucher Road, 7.8 miles

  • Leg 3: Boucher Road to Falls Road, 4.2 miles

  • Leg 4: Falls Road to North Queen Street, 5 miles

  • Leg 5: Duncairn Gardens to Ormeau Park 5.5 miles

Participants were required to complete the marathon run, wheelchair race or team relay within six hours and the eight-mile walk event within two hours and 30 minutes.

Entrants could have walked the main event if they wished but runners were not allowed on the eight-mile walk event.

In-ear headphones were not permitted but bone-conducting headphones are allowed.

Participants could have been disqualified for:

  • Urination in any area other than that of designated toilets on route

  • Swapping numbers

  • Deviation from run route

  • Tampering with timing chip

  • Refusing to obey the instructions of race officials

  • Unsportsmanlike conduct

  • Offensive actions or language to race officials, volunteers, participants or spectators

Can I rewatch the Belfast Marathon from the comfort of my living room?

Yes - all 319 minutes of coverage, from the grounds of Stormont to Ormeau Park, is available on BBC iPlayer for the next 11 months.

BBC iPlayer
BBC iPlayer