Belfast City Marathon hosts NI and Ulster and Irish Championships
30 September 2021
The 2021 NI & Ulster and Irish Senior Marathon Championships will take place this Sunday 3rd October at the 39th Deep RiverRock Belfast City Marathon.
The Marathon will commence at 9am, followed by the Team Relay, 8 Mile Walk and 5k Fun Run events, from Stormont Estate, with all events finishing at Ormeau Park, expect for the Fun Run, which will stay within the ground of Stormont Estate. The marathon is set to be the largest mass participation sporting event across Northern Ireland and Ireland since the lockdown restrictions have eased, with over 5,700 competitors set to take part.
Tokyo 2020 Olympian, and the current Irish Champion, Stephen Scullion (Clonliffe Harriers) is among the entries and will likely be the one to beat once again if taking his place on the start-line, along with City of Derry Spartans, Catherine Whoriskey.
The previous marathon took place in 2019, pre-covid restrictions, when Kenya’s Caroline Jepchirchir broke the Women’s record of 2 hrs 34 mins 55 secs. The current covid restrictions have ensured that this year’s best ever entry (which includes deferred entries from last year) excludes international runners and will be confined essentially to competitors from all parts of Ireland. There is specific interest from athletes from the South as Belfast has been designated as the official Irish Championships following the cancellation of the Dublin Marathon.
Coming back from the searing heat of Tokyo 2020, Belfast’s Stephen Scullion is set to take to the start line on Sunday. Stephen excelled at the Antrim Coast Half Marathon in 2020, setting a NI Half Marathon record with 61mins 8secs, behind Great Britain’s Mo Farah, followed by setting a new Irish Marathon record only a month later in London with a time of 2 hours, 9 mins and 49 seconds.
He will be challenge by Raheny Shamrock’s Mick Clohisey, who has a PB of 2 hours 13 minutes from the Dublin Marathon in 2019. Rio Olympian, Mick also ran 2 hours 16 minutes in London in 2017, and has represented Ireland 12 times at the European Cross Country. Other likely favourites will be Gary O’Hanlon with a PB of 2 hours 16 minutes; North Silgo AC’s Feidhlim McGowan with a PB 2 hours and 25 minutes and Rathfarnham’s Mark Ryan, with a PB of 2 hours 25 mins.
In the Women’s event, City of Derry Spartans’ Catherine Whoriskey will be one of the favourites, having ran a PB of 2 hours 42 mins and 39 seconds in Dublin in 2019. Catherine has previously won the SSE Airtricity Walled City Marathon and claimed victory at the 2020 Bobby Rea Cross Country.
Others to watch out for will be Armagh AC’s Fionnuala Ross and North Belfast Harriers’s Gladys Ganiel who will be likely favourites for the National and NI & Ulster titles, along with Sorcha Loughnane, who ran 2 hours 55 mins in Dublin in 2019 and Shirley Coyle who ran 2 hours and 57 minutes in Dublin.
Race results will be available on the Belfast Marathon website here
The national marathon entries can be found on the Athletics Ireland website here