14 January 2006

New route on way for the Belfast marathon

Belfast Telegraph

By Marie Foy
14 January 2006

A decision to re-route this year's 25th Belfast marathon was last night welcomed by a veteran runner.

The marathon organising committee has said it has reviewed last year's circuit after complaints from both participants and the public.

The details of the new route will be unveiled at the start of February.

Some runners disliked the final section of the 2005 event, which took them through the Harbour Estate where there were hardly any spectators to lift their flagging spirits.

Others complained that there were dangerous stretches, such as a cycle lane from Newtownabbey, and that the Duncrue Street section was barren and desolate.

The marathon's 26.2 mile route had been changed to follow a faster course, and to avoid traffic.

David Seaton, technical director of the marathon, commented:"We have taken on board what people have said and have tried to tailor a course to suit their needs.

"Some were unhappy there were long stretches of the race which they felt weren't densely populated.

"We are attempting to make it more of a community route.

"It means the course will be hillier, through more built-up areas. We hope the public will find it an interesting route," he added.

Belfast councillor Robin Newton, a former marathon runner and chairman of the community and leisure services committee, said: "I am glad they are looking at a changing the course again because of some of the problems that arose last year.

"We have to remember that those who have trained hard all year deserve to be respected and the course should suit their needs as best it can.

"A marathon is always difficult and when you reach the final stage you need encouragement."

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