THE Antrim Coast Half Marathon, which will take place on August 29 this year, has been added to World Athletics’ prestigious series of Road Race Label Events.
It is the first time that an Irish race has been included in the worldwide schedule. The event now joins the Virgin Money London Marathon and the Cardiff University Cardiff Half Marathon as the UK’s only three races in the series.
Last year’s men’s race was won by four-time Olympic champion Sir Mo Farah in 60:27 with British half marathon champion Lily Partridge taking the ladies honours in 71:36.
The 2020 edition of the race was spearheaded by Farah on a scenic coastal course around Larne. Initially postponed from its traditional March date due to the outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic, the race eventually went ahead in September, albeit being an elite-only race.
Race organiser James McIlroy, a 2000 Sydney Olympian and three-time Commonwealth Games athlete, said the race will be “amazing”.
The former 800m specialist said:
“We will have the best runners in the world on one of the most beautiful roads in the world, whilst also welcoming the masses bac. Entrants will not only get to race with some of their heroes on the back of the Tokyo Olympics, but also get a great view of the elite race due the out-and-back nature of the course.
“We should also be in a position to welcome competitors from further afield, such as America and Africa, which we hope will make for another record-breaking race.
With the course being touted by Farah as “beautiful and iconic”, the race will sit alongside Rio de Janeiro, Shanghai, Dubai, Barcelona, Seville, Valencia, Houston, Buenos Aires and Istanbul on the series roster.
“The majority of last year’s entry has already signed up for the 2021 edition, setting us the ambitious target of the first ever sub-60-minute men’s half marathon and sub-70-minute women’s half marathon in Ireland,” said McIlroy.
Additions to the wider experience include a post-event party and children’s race.
Mayor of Mid and East Antrim, Councillor Peter Johnston, welcomed the progress made on the 2021 event.
“Through the Antrim Coast Half Marathon in September 2020, we, as a Council, were given a major opportunity to showcase Mid and East Antrim’s spectacular coastline to a global audience.
“Considering the success of last year’s event, I am excited to learn more about the plans for this year’s race, which no doubt will continue to strengthen the attractiveness of the area as a place to visit.
“Council is looking forward to supporting the organisers in their drive to develop this as not only a key local event, but one of national and international interest.”
Further information can be found at www.antrimcoasthalfmarathon.