The Belfast City Marathon traditionally takes place on a bank holiday Monday, but next year it will undergo some changes, after councillors agree to change the route and race day for 2019.
Yesterday evening, the City Councils City Growth and Regeneration Committee heard proposals on the new route and agreed next year’s race will be held on a Sunday morning.
The proposed new route will include areas not previously covered on the 26.2 mile race, including the Lisburn Road, Finaghy to Andersonstown and the Waterworks. The marathon will now start at Stormont, instead of City Hall, but will still finish at Ormeau Park.
The plans will now go before the full council on Monday.
Chair of the committee, 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 festival atmosphere of previous years.
He also said the changes will benefit the local community, 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.”
Whilst the proposed, more intricate route for the course means extra stewards will be required to handle the large crowds, several representatives felt this extra money would be recouped and more through the extra trade and tourism having the race on the Sunday would bring.