Entries for the Mash Direct Belfast City Half Marathon are OPEN


We are delighted to introduce our wonderfully skilled pacers for this year's Half Marathon.


Name: Kenny Holdsworth

Age: 49

Paces: Half Marathon

Running Club: Keep er Lit

Pacing Time: 1 hour 30 minutes

Marathon PB: 2 hours 45 minutes

How long have you been pacing for? Have been pacing for several years, but 2022 will be my first year with Belfast City Marathon.

How did you get into running? Started running with a running club at a young age, then stopped for several years but got back into running in my 30's and have enjoyed it ever since.

Advice for a new runner: Get yourself a good pair of running shoes and don't worry too much about time if you are a new runner.


Name: Neil Mercer

Age: 47

Paces: Half Marathon

Running Club: North Belfast Harriers

Pacing Time: 1 hour 30 minutes

Marathon PB: 2 hours 58 minutes 

How long have you paced for? Paced for Belfast City Marathon since 2017, both for the Full & Half Marathon. Have also paced the Walled City Marathon since 2018.

How did you get into running? Began running in 2014, as a means of keeping fit and have been hooked ever since.

Advice for a new runner: I would advise you take your time and build your weekly mileage slowly. This will hopefully prevent injury. Also, remember each training run is not a race so run at a pace you feel comfortable with. On race day, don't get caught up in a race at the start. Start slightly slower and finish strong. It will make running the Half Marathon more enjoyable. Good luck to everyone taking part.


Name: John McNally

Age: 42

Paces: Half Marathon

Running Club: Roadrunners AC

Pacing Time: 1 hour 45 minutes

Marathon PB: 2 hours 58 minutes

How long have you paced for? Our club, Roadrunners AC, pace for several big races across NI, including the 3 hour group at Belfast City Marathon.

How did you get into running? My dad took me out running when I was in primary school - I've been a runner ever since!

Advice for a new runner: Consistency is key! Set yourself a mileage target that is realistic and achievable and build it up slowly from there. Sometimes new runners will catch the running bug but then inevitably struggle to sustain the mileage or keep up their motivational levels. Just be consistent and the rest will follow.


Name: Rebecca Hormann

Age: 26

Paces: Half Marathon

Running Club: BARF (Belfast Association of Rock Climbers & Fell Runners)

Pacing Time: 2 hours

Marathon PB: 3 hours 24 minutes

How long have you paced for? This will be my first time pacing an official event! I'm extremely excited to get going!

How did you get into running? I signed up for the Bangkok Half Marathon when I was travelling through Asia in 2019 as I thought it would be a fun way to make memories and challenge myself, particularly in the heat and humidity. Not too long after, I ended up in Northern Ireland and started running more often to occupy myself and get exercise in during COVID times. I loved it so much that I decided to try my hand at ultras. Since then, ultra-running has been a huge and important part of my life. I do, however, love road race running and have ran many road half marathons.

Advice for a new runner: Start small, be consistent and apply discipline. Soon enough the distances that scared you will no longer look so daunting and you'll want bigger, longer running challenges.


Name: Paul Bracken

Age: 45

Paces: Full & Half Marathon 

Running Club: Jog Moira

Pacing Time: Full Marathon - 4 hours 45 minutes, Half Marathon - 2 hours 15 minutes

Marathon PB: 3 hours 33 minutes

How long have you paced for? The 2022 Mash Direct Belfast City Marathon was my first official pacing role and I really enjoyed it. I had previously paced unofficially for my running club for a number of years.

How did you get into running? I got into running in 2014 as I was overweight and seen a sign for Wallace Park Run. My goal was to finish it without walking, the rest is history. I've ran 260 park runs, 102 marathons, various ultra-marathons and I am a member of the 100-mile club. Running is my go-to place, and I am lucky to have met so many wonderful people on the journey.

Advice for a new runner: I'd recommend running to absolutely anybody, regardless of age or current fitness level. Running has completely transformed my life from quite literally not being able to run a mile, to running 5 days a week and being part of a great club. Running is great for physical health, but also key for mental health as well. I can run in groups, solo or with my dog. I can run roads, trails, mountains, anywhere really. As I said before, the people I have met running are amazing. If I didn't lace up that time in 2014, I honestly don't know where I'd be today.


Name: Martin Caldwell

Age: 52

Paces: Full & Half Marathon

Running Club: Crossgar Harriers

Pacing Time: Full Marathon - 4 hours 30 minutes, Half Marathon - 2 hours 15 minutes

Marathon PB: 3 hours 15 minutes

How long have you paced for? 2 years with Belfast City Marathon, and previously with Derry & Ards.

Advice for a new runner: Try to join a club, as they will accommodate to you in their training runs. Be honest with yourself about marathon times. Try to follow a training plan and stick to it. Enjoy your running. It is easier to run with a group of people as it makes the miles go by easier.


Name: Natalie Bowbanks

Age: 41

Paces: Full & Half Marathon

Running Club: Craigavon Lakers

Pacing Time: Full Marathon - 4 hours, Half Marathon - 1 hour 45 minutes

Marathon PB: 3 hours 18 minutes

How long have you paced for? My first official pacing was for Newry City Marathon in 2017, bringing in the 4-hour group. I would regularly pace friends at races, but next opportunity to pace at an official event was the Belfast City Marathon in 2018. It was an exciting opportunity to pace with a much bigger crowd and I am still proud as punch to say I was the first female pacer for Belfast City Marathon.

How did you get into running? My dad was a keen runner in his day, so I guess the initial interest came from his experiences. I started off on a treadmill but soon found the roads and great outdoors much more enjoyable. I completed my first marathon in 2010 and have since been fortunate to run marathons and ultra-marathons across Europe and America. I like to set myself a challenge each year and enjoy incorporating running and travel wherever I can. 

Advice for a new runner: Be consistent and plan your training week ahead realistically, so that it is achievable around work and family life. Don't get fixated on pace at the start and listen to your body when it is tired and needs a break. As for race day, I still to this day apply the gold, silver and bronze mindset. Go for gold, but if for some reason, today is not the day, go for your silver finish time. The same applies for bronze. This helps keep your mind focused and you are less likely to mentally give up if you have a target and focus.