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'Significant’ changes agreed for Belfast Marathon in 2019

Plans include moving the starting line from the City Hall to Stormont in 2019. Credit: Presseye

Councillors have agreed to recommend significant changes to Belfast City Marathon, including moving the event to a Sunday.

On Wednesday evening, the City Councils City Growth and Regeneration Committee also heard proposals on new routes and agreed to recommend a new city wide circuit.

Thousands of people take part in the annual event which has previously been held on a Bank Holiday Monday.

“The marathon is a fantastic event for both runners and those cheering them on. I’m delighted that the committee tonight agreed to endorse the new route and the change of day."

– CLLR Donal Lyons, Committee Chair

The race sees a mix of professional and fun runners undertaking the course, many raising funds for their chosen charities.

The plans will go before a full Council meeting on Monday.

Chair of the City Growth and Regeneration Committee and SDLP councillor Donal Lyons said: “The route has changed quite a bit and spans all parts of the city. Starting in Stormont the marathon will sweep through the city to the Ormeau Road, curve south to include the Lisburn Road and Finaghy. It then heads up to Andersonstown Road, onto the Falls and across the Shankill to the Crumlin Road before heading back to the city centre.

"Ultimately the marathon will end as before in Ormeau Park and I have no doubt that the Ormeau area will continue to provide the festive atmosphere of previous years.

He said the changes could benefit traders adding: “Allowing the bank holiday Monday to be set aside for recovery will no doubt be welcomed by local participants but it will also make it easier for people to travel to Belfast, stay the few days and make a weekend out of it. The local shops along the route will also benefit from increased footfall and the festive atmosphere."