The 30th Belfast Marathon takes place on Monday 2nd May and a number of Harriers are involved.
In the main event, top vet Mick Fitzpatrick will be looking for a good performance following some impressive races this Spring. Mick has been put the long miles in and will be looking for a time under 2 hours 40 minutes.
If he does, he may well win the Male 40 category and could be one of the highest placed locals. Mick has always run well in the Belfast Marathon and we look forward to seeing him produce another good performance.
He will have another club mate and top veteran for company however. Tommy Hughes, former Olympian and North Belfast Harrier is rumoured to be competing this year. Tommy is in the province and ran in the Magherafelt and Whitehead races over the last few days.
However, the 30th Belfast Marathon marks a more significant milestone for another North Belfast Harrier, Greg McClure.
Belfast 2011 will be Greg’s 50th marathon, a remarkable achievement in itself.
Greg (M50) is one of the most consistent performers over the marathon distance, regularly going under 3 hours. This was demonstrated as recently as two weeks ago, when Greg defied the warm conditions in London to record 2 hours 59 minutes and 14 seconds. He ran the Barcelona Marathon just five weeks previously in 3.14.13..
We wish Greg all the best in his endeavours on May Day. (An excellent interview with Greg is posted on the NI Athletics website).
Gerry McNamara will be looking to put in a better performance than London a few weeks ago. Gerry suffered from the high temperatures in London and sensibly dropped out at 15 miles. It remains to be seen whether Gerry will have recovered in time to go sub 3, but we wish him well.
Matt Shields needs no introduction to those who know their marathon history. Matt’s connection with the Belfast Marathon goes back to the first event in 1982. This time around, Matt is running the marathon relay with some of people who took part in that first ever Belfast Marathon.
Finally, the Harriers are also providing most of the official pacemakers for the event. Marty Rea, Jim Benson, Gareth Grew, Conor Curran, Stuart Kennedy and Alan Ritchie are assigned to different paces (ranging from 3 to 4 hours) for the second year running.