40 years of Belfast City Marathon

05 March 2022

Steeped in history, Belfast City Marathon moves into its 40th year with new title sponsor Mash Direct on Sunday 1st May 2022.

40 years of Belfast City Marathon

The Belfast City Marathon first launched in 1982 through Belfast City Council and with Guinness as the title sponsor, they helped set up the first event of its kind in the city.  The marathon course started at the old Maysfield Leisure Centre, with 3021 marathon runners setting off to complete a two-lap course.  Greg Hannon was the winner in a time of 2:20:25 whilst Sue Boreham was the first women across the line in time of 3:11:26. 


As the novelty of marathon running started to fade in the late ‘80s, the event organisers took the opportunity to introduce new events, including the Team Relay in 1989, the 8 Mile Walk and Fun Run events in 1997 and the Belfast City Marathon became the biggest participatory sporting event in Northern Ireland. 


2019 became a momentous year, when the marathon experienced a major course revamp, taking in more of the city of Belfast; North, East, South and West and its historic sites.  The event also moved to a Sunday for the first time ever.


Deputy Lord Mayor of Belfast, Alderman Tom Haire said:


“Belfast City Council is delighted to support the Mash Direct Belfast City Marathon and we’d like to wish the organisers and participants every success for the event’s 40th anniversary year. As the instigators of the original marathon back in 1982, we’re incredibly proud of how the event has grown and developed over the years, becoming the largest mass sport participatory event in Northern Ireland, energising the city and attracting tens of thousands of participants, including international competitors over the years. Belfast City Council continues to be a proud supporter and funder of the Belfast City Marathon, and we look forward to seeing what this milestone marathon has in store – from the support on the streets to the achievements of both individual athletes and teams – and of course, the phenomenal funds raised for local charities.”


The sustainability of the event is completely reliant on community support and local volunteers – schools, universities, businesses, and churches all get involved to deliver a successful event.  This year they will need over 500 volunteers to help at the new Expo and Pack Collection at the Titanic Exhibition Centre (Thursday 28th April – set up day and Friday 29th April/Saturday 30th April is open to participants) and on Race Day (Sunday 1st May).


The Mash Direct Belfast City Marathon takes place on Sunday 1st May from the iconic Stormont Estate with over 16,000 participants expected to take part across the Marathon Run and Wheelchair Race, Team Relay and 8 Mile Walk.


Why not help make history by signing up (or volunteer) for the 40th anniversary of the Mash Direct Belfast City Marathon.  Final entry will be at midnight on 8th April.


For further details please visit www.belfastcitymarathon.com


The Mash Direct Belfast City Marathon is sponsored by Athletics Northern Ireland, Daily Mirror, Belfast City Council, Better, Cool FM (Downtown Radio and Downtown Country), Translink, Belfast Live, Tayto, Four Star Pizza and CompareNI.com.  This year’s official charity is Cancer Focus Northern Ireland.