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Summary

  1. Belfast City Marathon special - Monday 2 May 2016
  2. About 17,500 runners taking part in 35th annual race
  3. 2,700 people running the full race, 1,800 relay teams
  4. First athletes expected to cross finish-line at about 11:00

Live Reporting

By Fiona Murray, Iain McDowell, Sharon Ferguson and Erinn Kerr

All times stated are UK

Get involved

May Day madness

Fair play to everyone who stepped out for the Belfast City Marathon today!

Runners in the Belfast City Marathon
Pacemaker

Goodbye from all the team. See you on Tuesday from 07:00.

Colour and costume

You've all brightened up this glorious May Day either with your weird and wonderful costumes or with your boundless enthusiasm to power to the finish-line.   

Runners in the Belfast City Marathon
Pacemaker

This running lark is tiring work

Waiting, waiting, waiting...

Andy legs it in just over three hours

Blood sweat and tears for 35 years

The city of Belfast was first transformed into a marathon race track in 1982, when just over 3,000 runners took to the streets.  Changed times now...

First Belfast marathon
BBC
Runners
pacemaker

Walk this way...

Why run when you can walk part of the marathon route. 

8 mile walk marathon medal
BBC

And for those who do, here's the medal they receive at the finish line. 

The end is in sight for many

Nearly there...

These runners are just a stone's throw away from the finishing line...

Runners on Ravenhill Road
BBC

Going the distance

John Glover (pictured below, left) is the official course measurer, and he says there is no danger of the Belfast race coming up short, as was recently found to have happened in the Greater Manchester Marathon.

Joel Taggart with John Glover and Colin Welsh
BBC

"Technically, if I've done my job properly, it'll actually be 42m longer than that,” he says. "We have little a built-in safety factor of of 1m per km."

Milestone man Michael

Among today's runners is Michael Pentland, originally from Belfast but now living in Houston in the US, who is competing in his 100th marathon - madness, some might say.

Runners in the Belfast City Marathon
Pacemaker

And as he approached the milestone, he knew exactly where he wanted to be. "I wanted to come back to Belfast. In 1997, I ran the Belfast Marathon and only ever intended to run one."

So, how's our reporter doing?

Come on, you can do it, keep going!

Breaking the pain barrier

It's been just over three hours since the runners left the starting-line and many will be starting to feel the burn at this stage.

Runners in the Belfast City Marathon
Pacemaker

Dr Chris Bleakley from  Ulster University says about one in 20 first-time runners will pick up some kind of injury. "When you hit the ground, the ground hits you back," he says.

No shame in coming second

There's being first, and then there's being first

The memory of being the first winner of the Belfast Marathon will stay forever with Greg Hannon.

Greg Hannon
Pacemkaer
Greg Hannon
BBC

He came in at two hours, 20 minutes and 25 seconds and he can still recall the joy of the moment.

Marathon winner feels 'very happy'

Kenya's Joel Kipsang Kositany  who won this year's marathon said he "feels very happy". 

Joel Kipsang wins Belfast Marathon
BBC

It is the third time he has won the event. 

Get your picture snapped

Our team is snapping away during the marathon today. And we're also on Twitter. You can check out our latest tweets @BBCNewsNI.

Picture of runners
BBC

But the rest of the runners must keep going

A graphic that reads: Going the distance - the relay involves a team of people running different sections of the marathon/ Leg 1: 6.2 miles; leg 2: 3.3 miles; leg 3: 7.2 miles; leg 4: 4.5 miles; leg 5: 5 miles.
BBC

Watch: How they made it across the finish line

Enjoying a well deserved drink

Finishing the fun run

 Vickie Sayers and Owen Murphy have completed the fun run. Well done to them!

fun run
BBC

And the winner is...Kenya's Joel Kipsang Kositany

Our reporter has a bird's eye view

BBC reporter Tori Watson captures all the drama of the marathon on a body camera

BBC reporter Tori Watson captures all the drama of the marathon on a body camera

Feeling thirsty?

Graphic
BBC

Wonder woman!

Susan Boreham was the first woman to cross the line in the inaugural Belfast Marathon in 1982 in a time of about 3:11:00, and remembers having to endure a "gruelling" final six miles.

Susan Boreham talking to Joel Taggart
BBC

She says: "Initially when you cross the line you just say: 'Thank goodness!' And then a couple of minutes later, it's: "I did it, I finished it, that was a fantastic thing to do!"

Raising funds for a good cause

Many of those taking part in the Belfast Marathon are doing so to raise funds for charities. 

marathon competitors
Pacemaker

Boxing champ sends good wishes to runners

Clapping and cheers

Those taking part in the marathon are getting plenty of support from the sidelines.

marathon 2016
BBC

Running the course of history

Thousands of runners were forced to take an alternative route in the 1998 Belfast Marathon, after two mortar bombs were found in the Grosvenor Road area of Belfast, near the course.

1998 police vehicles
BBC

Quick puff or sugar rush?

Belfast Lord Mayor Arder Carson, who started the runners off today, ran the race back in 1989, clocking in with a time of about 4:23:00 but almost ran out of puff when he reached Grand Parade.

Runners at the start of the Belfast City Marathon
BBC

"I asked for a cigarette and that was probably the wrong thing and it was refused to me," he says. "I ended up getting a gobstopper, which I sucked from there to the very end - it got me over the line with the wee sugar burst that I got."

Drinking-up time

Runners along the route will have been glad to see the refuelling stations in the horizon.

Paper cups along the race route
BBC

Whether they drank the water or threw it over their heads to cool down is anyone's guess!

Stopping for a stretch

Fond memories of the first Belfast Marathon

Belfast Marathon chairman David Seaton has fond memories of the first race, held back in 1982.

He says he finished it in 20th place with a time of about 2:38:00.

David Seaton
BBC

“Everybody crossed the line and got a free pint of Guinness if they wanted it,” he laughs!  

Tick, tock...

A graphic that reads: Running against the clock - The Belfast City Marathon time limit is six hours. A steady pace of just over 4mph will get runners across the line in time.
BBC

Decisions, decisions....

Facts and figures

18,000 runners are taking part in the marathon. 

Marathon finish race
bbc

2,700 are hoping to complete the full route and 1,800 relay teams have also registered.   

Oompa Loompas playing their part

No, they weren't auditioning for a role in Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, they were taking part in the marathon. 

Marathon competitors
BBC

Belfast streets awash with colour

Organ donation 'no joke', says Alexander

Runner Alexander Owen
BBC

Ballymena man Alexander Owen is running in his 75th marathon, and he's doing it to raise awareness of organ donation. All the best, Alexander!