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Summary

  1. Belfast City Marathon special - Monday 1 May 2017
  2. Laura Graham becomes first NI woman to win since 1999
  3. Kenyan Bernard Rotich wins the men's race in 2:16:02
  4. More than 15,000 runners taking part in 36th annual race

Live Reporting

By Iain McDowell and Michael Hirst

All times stated are UK

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That's all from us!

A cracking day for Northern Ireland sport, we're sure you'll agree.

Not only did more than 15,000 people take to the city streets for the Belfast Marathon, but the May Day bank holiday was topped off with a home win...

Laura Graham crossed the Belfast Marathon finish line
Press Eye

We'll leave you with our photo of the day - Kilkeel's Laura Graham coming home in first place in the women's race...

G'wan, ye girl, ye!

Congrats on a marathon effort!

Runners in the Belfast Marathon
Press Eye

A massive well done from us to everyone who took part in the Belfast Marathon - whether you were fun-running, relay-running or taking on the full 26.2 miles, we salute you!

Hugs galore for champion mum

The first Northern Ireland winner in 18 years, Belfast Marathon champ Laura Graham got her hands on her medal and a bottle of bubbly as she stepped up on to the winners' podium...

Laura Graham on the winners' podium
Press Eye
Laura Graham with her family
Press Eye

But even sweeter than the champagne will be the hugs she was given by her four children and her husband! Smashing effort, Laura!

Live on Facebook from the final furlong

Over on Facebook, our reporter Erinn Kerr is live from the Ravenhill Road, the final stretch of the marathon route...

Runners in the Belfast marathon
Press Eye

Join her as she speaks to some of those along the finishing straight and watch the runners as they push for home!

Every one a champion!

Snap happy

Plenty of colour on the streets of Belfast today - the photographers have been keeping an eye on those taking part...

Runners in the Belfast marathon
Press Eye
Runners in the Belfast Marathon
Press Eye

Recognise any of these competitors? We're urging them all on to the end!

Keep pushing on!

Further down the field, they're still running hard... and having plenty of fun, by the look of things!

Runners in the Belfast Marathon
BBC
Runners in the Belfast Marathon
BBC
A runner in the Belfast Marathon
BBC

These runners passed Gideon's Green a short time ago - keep 'er lit, folks!

'Instead of Kenya, it's Kilkeel!'

Belfast Marathon organiser David Seaton says he's "pleased to see a home-grown winner" after Laura Graham won the women's race.

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"There's been African dominance in the Belfast Marathon for so many years," he says.

"And it's lovely to see one of our local girls [win] - instead of Kenya, it's Kilkeel!"

Marathon win doesn't feel real, says Graham

Laura Graham says her victory "doesn't feel real" after she became the first Northern Ireland winner of the Belfast Marathon since 1999.

The Kilkeel woman says she's been running for "those kids of mine - Payten, Jayden, Layla and Darcy".

Laura Graham
BBC

And what are her plans after taking the title?

"I might go and treat the youngsters!"

BreakingGraham claims long-awaited home win

Kilkeel runner Laura Graham has ended an 18-year wait for a Northern Ireland winner of the Belfast Marathon.

Laura Graham crosses the finish line
BBC

She set a new personal best after finishing the race in 2:41:45, just eight days after running the London Marathon.

Crack open the champagne, fellas!

Rotich 'impressed' with his winning time

Bernard Rotich says he's "very impressed" with his Belfast Marathon-winning time of 2:16:02.

"I trained for this race and I knew I'd do something, and I've made it, so I'm very happy for that," he says.

Bernard Rotich
BBC

"In 2014 I was here, I was not well prepared because I had an injury, but today I was very impressed with the time I ran."

The Kenyan finished ahead of compatriots Daniel Tanui and Emmanuel Kiprotich Meli, and says he pushed for the lead at the 21-mile mark when he was feeling strong.

We have a winner!

Kenyan Bernard Rotich has crossed the finish line to take victory in the Belfast Marathon in a time of 2:16:02.

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He broke clear at the 23-mile mark in the men’s race after the leading group of five finally began to fragment.  

Laura leads the way in chase for NI glory

BBC Sport NI

Northern Ireland’s 18-year wait for a Belfast Marathon winner looks set to end as Laura Graham has a big lead in the women’s race.

Laura Graham
Pacemaker

The Kilkeel woman hit the halfway mark in just over one hour and 20 minutes and she's gone on to extend her lead with about seven miles left.

Falcons spread wings for marathon debut

Maximum respect to the Belfast Falcons, a running group whose members have learning disabilities, who took part in the fun run today.

The Belfast Falcons
BBC

They've been training for the past six months and team member John Martin says it's been tough going.

"You just have to get out there and do your best," he says. Read more about the fantastic flying Falcons here.

We can be heroes

Fair play to these fellas who've donned the costumes for their marathon effort!

Runners wearing superhero costumes
Pacemaker
A runner wearing a Superman costume
Pacemaker

They'll be heating up inside the lycra!

Recognise anyone?

Looks like the fun-runners were enjoying themselves!

Runners in the Belfast Marathon
Press Eye

Want to feature on our marathon live page? Send us a snap and tweet it with the hashtag #BBCNIRun - we'll try to feature you!

Heating up for our relay team

Checking in with our BBC News NI relay team, our economic and business editor John Campbell has finished the second leg and it's over to education correspondent Robbie Meredith.

Robbie Meredith and John Campbell
BBC

"It's pretty hot out there, so don't get too excited at the start," advises John (above, right), as he tries to get his breath back.

Hit the north!

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Plenty of encouragement from the welcoming spectators for these runners as they reach the north of the city...

Home home Laura leading the way

BBC Sport NI

Kilkeel woman Laura Graham is showing no ill-effects from her London Marathon exertions last weekend. 

Laura Graham
Press Eye

She’s got a lead of over a minute from Kenyan Salome Kimutai Jepkoech and Belgian Olympian Els Rens at close to the nine-mile mark. 

Just to remind you, if Laura does stay at the head of the pack until the finish line, she'll become the first Northern Ireland winner of the Belfast Marathon since Barbara Brewer’s 1999 triumph.

Fun-runners at the finish!

At sunny Ormeau Park, the fun-runners are crossing the finish line and they've been speaking to John Bennett on BBC Radio Ulster.

Fun runners in the Belfast Marathon
BBC

Well done to Barbara and James who were running the three-and-a-half-mile route for Mencap!

"Dad's watching me and he'll be saying: 'That's my boy, he can do it' - and I did it today," says James.

Taking one for the team!

So, how is the BBC News NI relay team getting on?

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Captain Cecilia Daly has just wrapped up the first leg and was impressed by the amount of people she encountered who are taking part for a good cause.

"You can see on the back of their tops - there's loads of people running for daddy, running for mammy," says Cee.

Beginning of a marathon effort

We had our cameras at the starting line to as thousands of competitors kicked off in this year's race...

Runners set off from Belfast CIty Hall as the marathon gets underway

Setting the pace

BBC Sport NI

Pre-race favourite Dan Tanui is among a group of five who are heading the men’s race just after the six-mile mark at Bridgend.

Runners in the Belfast Marathon
BBC

His compatriots Hillary Chirchir, Bernard Rotich and Emmanuel Kiprotich are also in the leading group with Morocco’s Abdelhadi El Mouaziz.

Home hope Laura Graham arrived at Bridgend a few minutes later and looks comfortable despite her exertions eight days ago at the London Marathon.

Why's the marathon 26 miles and 385 yards long?

The answer lies back in London Olympic Games of 1908.

Let's get quizzical!

Sure, it's difficult to run the Belfast City Marathon, but we're confident that our quiz on its history has just as high a degree of difficulty.

A runner in the Belfast Marathon
Press Eye

Let's see if you can successfully navigate the whole course... click here to have a go!

All for a good cause...

Here are a few of the competitors doing their bit for charity today...

Medbh, Gwen and Michael
BBC

Medbh, Gwen and Michael will be on the moo-ve for Fintan's Fund, a charity helping young adults with cancer.

Laure Molveaux and Sonam Tsering
BBC

And Laure Molveaux from France and Sonam Tsering from Tibet are taking part for the drop-in Belfast Friendship Club.

Run the Belfast Marathon... in two minutes

Want to run the Belfast City Marathon in a world-record-smashing two minutes?

Run the Belfast Marathon - in two minutes

We sent a reporter out along the route with a camera attached... but he may have cheated a little by using a bicycle and a fast-forward button!

Will Dan be the man?

BBC Sport NI

Last year's Belfast Marathon third-placer Dan Tanui is being tipped as the men's favourite even though his fellow Kenyan Bernard Rotich is the fastest in the field.

Dan Tanui
Press Eye

Tanui clocked 2:18.46 last year, more than a minute behind winner Joel Kositany (2:17.39), but the three-time champion is not competing today.

Graham aims for first NI win in 18 years

BBC Sport NI

So, now they're off and running, let's take a look at who's in the mix for a place on the podium...

Laura Graham
Press Eye

Kilkeel woman Laura Graham is aiming to become the first Belfast City Marathon winner from Northern Ireland in 18 years.

The 31-year-old was the runner-up last year with a time of 2:48.55, and is taking part just eight days after competing in the London Marathon.

Striding away from the start

All you need to know about the marathon

Ciaran McCauley

BBC News NI

Marathon - just reading the word will either make you want to grab your runners or simply run away.

Runners in the Belfast Marathon
Pacemaker

Either way, the annual Belfast race is here and we have everything you need to know in this handy guide, for both the participants and spectators expected on the streets.

A serious competitor...

And they're off!

First went the wheelchair competitors...

Wheelchair competitors in the Belfast Marathon
BBC

And then the runners!

Runners in the Belfast Marathon
BBC

High in the sky

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The police have their eyes in the sky to keep a watch on those who are on the run around Belfast today!