Reigning Champion Freddy Sittuk Returns to Defend Deep RiverRock Belfast City Half Marathon Title
14 September 2017
Last year’s Champion Freddy Sittuk (Raheny Shamrock AC) heads a 3,500 strong field ready for the 5th annual Deep RiverRock Belfast City Half Marathon this weekend (Sunday 17th September 2017).
Record numbers will take to the streets of Northern Ireland’s capital city for the increasingly popular event, which will start and finish at Ormeau Park. The route will cover all parts of the city, from Victoria Park to Cornmarket, the Ravenhill Road to Botanic Avenue; a running tour of Belfast’s picturesque landscape.
Just two weeks ago, Freddy retained his Waterside Half Marathon title in 1:09:18 after a close battle with local Spartan Declan Reed (City of Derry AC) and he is likely to face tough opposition as he attempts to defend his Belfast crown. Fellow Kenyan, Gideon Kipsang, representing Derry Track Club, and Northern Ireland’s Stephen Scullion (Clonliffe Harriers), will also start.
Freddy clocked 1:07:50 to see off Scott Rankin (Foyle Valley AC) here twelve months ago but the current Walled City Marathon Champion will need to reduce those figures if he wants to top the podium. Gideon has posted a 1:03:08 over the half marathon distance, this was back in 2015 at the Cardiff Half Marathon – last year (2016), he recorded 1:03:56 at the Peterborough Half Marathon. Last week, Stephen Scullion ran 1:05:52 over the 13.1 mile distance at the Great North Run. It’s been an excellent year for the England based star, after he ran 28:58 for 10,000m (USA) and 2:17:59 for the marathon (London).
North Belfast Harriers’ John Black, winner of the Newry Half Marathon and more recently, last week’s Larne 10k, will also feature at the front. Sperrin Harriers’ Pierce McCullagh, who ran a massive personal best of 1:12:56 at the Waterside Half Marathon, will again be out to impress. Andrew Considine (North Belfast Harriers), Dennis Scott (North Down AC), Steven McAlary (Springwell Running Club), Ed Cooke (North Belfast Harriers), Tommy Simmons (North Belfast Harriers) and James Budde (North Down AC) should all finish well up the field.
Northern Ireland international’s Lauren Quee (Lagan Valley AC) and Amy Bulman (Willowfield Harriers) should lead the chase for honours in the ladies race. Both have excelled within the cross country discipline over the last few years, culminating with international selection, but have also impressed on the tarmac. Lauren won the Balloch to Clydebank Half Marathon in 1:22:24, which is her best time on record for the distance. Amy claimed a podium spot at this year’s Larne Half Marathon in 1:21:15, but arguably her best performance this term has been a podium place at the Great North 10k in England, where she claimed 3rd place in a high quality field.
International duathlete Judith Lonnen (City of Lisburn AC), winner of the Holywood Exchange Half Marathon (1:24:44) and in-form pair Sarahjane Guiney (Unattached) and Susan Smyth (Dromore AC), will also contest a podium place. Ciara Toner (Springwell Running Club), winner of this week’s Bobby Farren 5k (18:15) and several other recent North West races, will feature prominently. Niamh Kellett (East Down AC), Collette McCourt (Dub Runners), Joanne Foster (East Down AC), Leanne Sands (Acorns AC) and Bryony May (Enniskillen Running Club) will be aiming for a high placing.
Important traffic information:
As a result, motorists can expect some disruption throughout the morning and early afternoon, although every attempt will be made to ensure that this is kept to a minimum. Full details of the route can be found on www.belfastcitymarathon.com.
While the majority of roads will remain open during the event, the area around Ormeau Embankment will be closed to through traffic in both directions between approximately 7am to 12noon. Slight disruption can be expected along the Ravenhill Road until around 10am. Disruption can also be expected along the Albertbridge Road, Newtownards Road, Dee Street and Sydenham Bypass until shortly after 10.15am.
The front runners are expected to pass over the Sam Thompson Bridge onto Airport Road at approximately 9.35am and make their way to Queens Bridge at approximately 9.45am via Sydenham Road and Station Street Flyover. The runners are expected to pass through the city centre from Custom House Square, via High Street, Cornmarket, Arthur Street, Chichester Street, Castle Street enroute to the Falls Road at approximately 9.50am. The area around Victoria Street will be disrupted between 8.30am and 11am.
Disruption can also be expected on Grosvenor Road, Great Victoria Street, and Bruce Street heading towards Dublin Road, Shaftesbury Square and Botanic Avenue from 8.30am to 11.50pm. At approximately 10am the runners will pass through University Street onto the Ormeau Road, and Ormeau Embankment to the final stretch of the race, finishing with the home straight insight at approximately 10.10am. The final finisher is estimated to arrive at the Ozone Centre Finish line at approximately 12noon.
For spectators wishing to meet family and friends at the start/finish area, there are a variety of carparks close by that you can avail off. These can be found on www.belfastcitymarathon.com.
Information on the expected traffic disruptions can be obtained from the Traffic Information and Control Centre on 08457 123321, or via www.trafficwatchni.com. Regular updates will also be given via the Marathon’s official Media Partner, U105.
Please note that we aim to assist in the continuous flow of traffic, therefore traffic will be diverted city bound at University Avenue and country bound at Ormeau Avenue. We appreciate your patience.