Kipsang Aiming for 4th Belfast City Marathon Victory as 3000 get ready to take on 26.2 miles
01 May 2018
On May Day Monday 7th May 2018, close to 17,000 participants are expected to set off from the iconic Belfast City Hall in a bid to complete the 37th Deep RiverRock Belfast City Marathon. Including the Marathon Run and Wheelchair Race, Marathon Team Relay, 8 Mile Walk and Fun Run.
The event is delighted to see a big surge in the number of marathon entries this year with around 3,000 expected to take on 26.2 miles of Belfast. 2018 has also seen an increase of Team Relay participants, with around 2,200 “five person” relay teams taking part.
Returning to compete on May Day is Kenya's treble Belfast City Marathon winner Joel Kipsang, who will be aiming for an unprecedented 4th victory in next week's 37th Deep RiverRock Belfast City Marathon.
30 year old Joel is from the famous Rift Valley area of Africa which has historically produced many world class distance runners. He came to the fore in Belfast back in 2013 when he took his first victory from fellow Kenyan James Rotich in a time of 2 hrs 19 minutes 28 secs.
Kipsang then followed this up with a second win in 2015 in a similar time and then achieved his treble the following year with a win over Eric Koech in a fast 2.17.39.
Joel, who naturally considers Belfast his favourite event has used his local knowledge to advantage on two occasions by making key breaks for the lead in Corporation Street with only 3 miles remaining. Next week could be the last time in which he will be able to do this as significant course changes are proposed for next year's Marathon.
Kipsang, who has a young son, trains in excess of 100 miles a week. The softly spoken runner has explained in the past that his prize money of £3,000 for each Belfast victory went a long way towards the construction of his bungalow in Eldorat.
However one significant threat is 32 year old Dan Tanui, who will be determined to deny Kipsang another victory. The fellow Kenyan had to settle for second place 12 months ago in a time of 2 hrs 17 mins 40 secs which in most years would have been good enough for victory. However, Dan was some way behind the rampant Bernard Rotich who won in 2.16.02 which is the 3rd fastest time ever.
Tanui was also 3rd in the 2016 race when Kipsang achieved his treble. Dan is part of the Ciaran Collins ' Project Africa team designed to provide opportunities for up and coming runners.
The Women's race will see the return of Radka Churanova of the Czech Republic. The 40 year old also considers Belfast a favourite venue with 3rd place in 2016 and 4th one year ago behind local winner Laura Graham.
For further details and updates on the biggest participation sporting event in Northern Ireland please visit www.belfastcitymarathon.com or follow the Deep RiverRock Belfast City Marathon on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.
The Deep RiverRock Belfast City Marathon is sponsored by Athletics Northern Ireland, Daily Mirror, Belfast City Council, Translink, Daily Mirror, ASICS, Intersport, Centra, Belfast Live and U105. Sampling partners are Musgrave Retailers, Deep RiverRock, Linwoods, Tayto and White Oats.
Mencap Northern Ireland is the official charity partner of the 2018 Deep RiverRock Belfast City Marathon and they urge you to #MoveIt4Mencap. 41,700 people in Northern Ireland are living with a learning disability. Mencap are the voice for people with learning disabilities, by challenging yourself in this year’s Deep RiverRock Belfast City Marathon you will help Mencap support even more people with a learning disability through their education, employment and family life programmes. The money you raise will help Mencap provide its live changing services to local people all across Northern Ireland. To find out more information about Mencap services in Northern Ireland; and about the people with whom we work please visit www.mencap.org.uk/ni