In baking hot conditions Marty Deane’s longstanding Belfast marathon record was smashed by Kenya’s Jacob Cheshire in a superfast 2:14:56.
The harriers could boast their own winners too with Lisa Sturgeon first local female in 3:07 and Tommy Hughes first local male in 2:33.
The leaders started as they meant to go on with Cheshire well clear of the top relay runner Joe McAllister even at 4 miles. Tommy Hughes started out in the lead local group however other top local Diarmuid Grant took a lead mid race and at 19 mile was ahead by ~2 minutes but Tommy showed his experience and clawed 4 minutes back in the last 7 miles to win.
Michael Fitzpatrick was next North man in. Michael had a solid race from start to finish and ended up with a time of 2:41:56 to finish 14th overall and 2nd M40.
Next thing on the agenda were the North athletes looking to beat three hours. Greg McClure was next up. Greg was running his 50th marathon and ran with a smile on his face from start to finish in 2:58:39 and take 42nd place 3rd M50. Paddy Hamill was next up in 2:59:47. Laurence Johnston had a good race and ran just inside the 3 hours to run 2:59:52 (4th M50) .
Lisa Sturgeon, who ran London two weeks ago, had a great race to win the local womens race in 3:07:10. Lisa struggled a little in the first few miles but once she got into her stride there was no stopping her.
Gerard McNamara ,after a disappointment in London, had a solid race to finish in 3:16:12. Gerard would admit to struggling in heat but he dug deep and had a solid race finishing just a few minutes outside his PB.
Robert Irvine also had a great race with more or less perfect splits to get a new PB in 3:20:26.
Special mention should also go to those club members who did the selfless act of pacing (unless they were doing it for the gear…). Marty Rea, Jim Benson, Gareth Grew, Stephen Walker, Conor Curran, Jim McCormick and Alan Ritchie were the pacers.
Note to organisers – 2nd and 3rd place were almost knocked down at the roundabout outside our clubhouse so more vigilant marshalling is required at that point!