P&O Ferries Antrim Coast Half Marathon 2020 Elite Press Release

Date : 1st August 2020

Following the successful return of road running to the province, the Antrim Coast Half Marathon race committee are delighted to confirm that the re-scheduled International event will go ahead as planned on Saturday 12th September beginning at 10am for the elite.

Due to the hygiene criteria put in place by the committee that is in line with both Run Britain and Athletics Northern Ireland’s event guidance, the race entry has now been closed and will take place with the following protocols:

• The entry has been capped at 50% of the planned capacity.

• The course has been changed to allow for wider roads and social distancing.

• The main event will be started in waves of 30 starting by time zones.

• Each participant will adhere to strict hygiene regulations including non -contact temperature checks before being allowed to enter the warm- up area.

• There will be no spectator zones on the course and anyone wishing to watch the race would be actively encouraged to follow the live stream via one of the races social channels or website.

• There will be no shower facilities, bag drops or vendors, with the entire event being held outdoors.

• The full hygiene guidance can be found on the website and will be sent to all participants well in advance of the event on the 12th September https://antrimcoasthalfmarathon.com

Everyone associated with the event must monitor themselves for any signs of the virus, as well as general health. Everyone should follow the advice of their GP or medical practitioner in all cases. Anyone showing signs of ill health or Covid- 19 should not attend the competition in any capacity.

The elite race will see the cream of British & Irish distance running descend on the Antrim Coast Road with what promises to be one of, if not the best, Half Marathon races in Europe this year.

The new course route which has been fully verified by AIMS, is touted to be one of the fastest anywhere in Europe, with one of the most iconic finishes to any road race, in sweeping off the Antrim Coast Road and finishing at the Chaine memorial Tower.

Race Director William Thompson has constructed both the elite entry and the fast course with the aim of putting on the fastest Half marathon ever to take place in the island of Ireland. The current Irish all -comers records stand at 62.29 for men posted in Tralee by legendary Irish distance man Jerry Kiernan way back in 1982, with Maria McCambridge holding the women’s all comers record of 72.26, which she ran more recently in Charleville in 2014.

The Antrim Coast half marathon will have the finest men’s and women’s fields ever assembled, to take to a start line in the island of Ireland. Currently boasting over 20 Olympians, some of the confirmed headline runners from the race include:

Summary of Women’s Elite race

• Gemma Steel – The quickest female in the race at 68.13 Gemma Steel is a former European Champion and World Half marathon 7th placer

• Jo Pavey – One of the greatest ever British distance runners, Jo will be aiming for her 6th Olympic Games in Tokyo next year and is a former World, European and Commonwealth medallist. Currently 2nd fastest in the race with a Half-marathon time of 68.53

• Lily Partridge – The current British champion and winner of this year’s Big Half Marathon in London 2020

• Aly Dixon – Current 50km World Champion and World Record holder

• Sam Harrison – Current British No.2 and 2nd in the Big Half Marathon in London 2020

• Ann- Marie McGlynn – Current Irish International & Northern Ireland all comers record holder

• Jip Vastenburg – Dutch International and former European U23 10,000m champion & current 4th place at the European championships

• Charlotte Taylor – Greene – England International and winner of both the Windsor Half -marathon and 10km in 2019 and 1 day apart

• Clara Evans –Welsh International running 72.29 at the Barcelona Half Marathon in 2020, and 7th at the Big Half in London 2020

• Holly Archer – The current GB 1500m champion moves up to the longer distance, already having run a 55.32 over 10 miles

• Team Scotland – including Fiona Brian, Avril Mason, Claire Bruce

• Gladys Ganiel & Jessica Craig – will be representing the local NI interest in the race

With several stars still to be confirmed, the men’s elite race will be without doubt the strongest ever assembled in Ireland, already including 3 men under 62 minutes and 10 men 63 minutes or better. Some of the headlines include:

• Ben Connor – British International and fastest man in the race in 61.11. Winner of the Murcia Half marathon 2020 and 8th in the Barcelona Half Marathon 2020 in a time of 61.34. Previous winner of Manchester Half Marathon in 2019. Winner of Armagh 5km International Road race 2017

• Scott Overall – One of Britain’s most decorated marathon runners with a pb of 2.10 and 4th in the Berlin marathon. Scott starts as current 2nd fastest with a Half marathon pb of 61.25

• Dewi Griffiths – British International with a PB of 61.33 when finishing 4th in the Cardiff Half Marathon and 2.09.54 finishing top European at the Frankfurt marathon.

• Nick McCormick – London Olympian and 3.52 min miler in the Oslo Dream Mile, Nick lines up at the Antrim Coast half in preparation for the Athens marathon in November. Half Marathon PB 62.44

• Marc Scott – Oregon based British International and current European 5K Indoor Record holder breaking Mo Farah’s previous mark with a time of 13:08. Arrives as one of the favourites for the event with a recent 6 second pb in the 1500m. With a 27min 56 sec 10,000metres time Marc is expecting his first sub 63 min outing at the Antrim Coast Half marathon.

• Frank Baddick – Fresh from a PB of 63.54 in the Barcelona Half this year and 11th in the Vitality Big Half 2020, Frank will also be looking to go under 63 minutes for the first time

• Kevin Seaward – The Belfast native and one of the firm local favourites is 2nd on the Irish all -time list for the marathon. He placed 4th in the last Commonwealth Games and is the current Northern Ireland record holder. Kev heads an Irish contingent that will see 4 Irish Olympians going head to head

• Stephen Scullion – Another local favourite, Stephen an Irish International and Belfast native has previously finished 2nd in the Dublin marathon and 5th in the 2019 Houston marathon in an Olympic qualifying standard of 2.11.52

• Hugh Armstrong – The Mayo native and Irish International is still only 26 and has already recorded 2.12.26 this year in Seville and will be expected to threaten his Half -marathon PB of 64.29 set last year in Charleville

• Mick Clohisey – Another Irish Olympian from Rio 2016, Mick has previously won the Vienna Half marathon and finished 22nd at the World Championships in 2017

• John Travers- The Irish international is moving up from the middle distance events and is the first ever Irishman to run a sub 4 minute mile indoors in Ireland. 3.55 miler.

• Josh Griffiths – Already having run 63:33 in Barcelona earlier in the year, the GB International will be looking to one of several runners pushing Jerry Kiernan’s all-comers record of 62.29

• Tommy Hughes- Tommy, one of Ireland’s all-time distance running legends, a Barcelona Irish Olympian is the oldest in the elite field and will be targeting a double world record with the Vets over 60 and fastest father & son half marathon both up for grabs

• Gary O Hanlon – Another Irish distance running legend, former Irish marathon champion, with a time of 67.00 for the half marathon Gary will be focusing on the Irish Vets +45 record of 67.22

• Tom Evans – The British Cross country International equally at home in the Ultra distances or Cross -country and roads. Hailed as the toughest race in the world, Tom finished 3rd in the 2017 Marathon des Sables

• Adam Craig – The talented Steve Vernon coached athlete, has a 28.20 10km on the road and is expecting to go under 64 minutes for the first time at the Antrim Coast Half marathon.

• Josh Grace – England International and looking to go under 64 minutes for the first time.

The race committee would like to thank their headline sponsor P&O ferries, Port of Larne, Caterpillar, The Curran Court, Spar Ballygally, Mid & East Antrim Council and Gordon Lyons MLA for their unwavering support in putting together what hopefully will be the safest and fastest Half Marathon in Ireland and Britain this year. Further updates will be released regularly in the lead up to the event on the race website https://antrimcoasthalfmarathon.com