Antrim Coast Half Marathon added to World Athletics' Road Race Label series

Mo Farah raced to victory in the Antrim Coast Half Marathon

This year's Antrim Coast Half Marathon, which will take place on 29 August, has been added to World Athletics' series of Road Race Label Events.

Won last year by Sir Mo Farah, it is the first time an Irish race has been included in the series.

It joins the London Marathon and the Cardiff Half Marathon as the UK's only three races on the global schedule.

Four-time Olympic champion Farah won in one hour and 27 seconds last year, with Lily Partridge the women's winner.

Farah headed the entry over a scenic course in and around Larne in last year's inaugural event which had to be confined to elite athletes because of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Race organiser 2000 Sydney Olympian James McIlroy said this year's race promises to be an "amazing" event and says that while nothing has been confirmed, "fingers crossed Mo will be with us again in 2021".

"We will have the best runners in the world running on one of the most beautiful roads in the world, whilst also welcoming the masses back," said the former 800m star.

"We also should be in a position to welcome the American and African competitors confirmed for last year's race but unfortunately due to restrictions were not able to travel."

Other cities to have a race on the Road Race Label Events calendar include Dubai, Tokyo, Istanbul, Barcelona, Shanghai, Rio de Janeiro and Buenos Aires.

While last year's race was confined to 62 elite athletes who also included Northern Ireland's prospective Tokyo Olympians Stephen Scullion and Kevin Seaward, McIlroy is hoping that the arrival of mass vaccination will enable a field of 10,000 runners to compete in and around Larne.

While Farah produced the fastest ever half marathon in Ireland last September, he was marginally outside the 60-minute barrier and McIlroy is hopeful that a field of even great depth can see that rectified in August, with the former 800m star also optimistic that the women's winner will duck under 70 minutes.

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