Runners prefer the traditional route…

THE Irish News reports that the Belfast Marathon is a bit of an organisational shambles. Leaving aside yesterday’s attempted bombing of the race, the new “flatter, faster” route itself has been slammed by runners. The deserted industrial wasteland towards the end is not seen as particularly enticing when support is appreciated by tiring runners; the toilet facilities were criticised; and wheelchair competitors had to dodge traffic too.Jim Stokes wrote on BBC Online:

From personal experience, though, that third leg was hardly riveting. I was told it went past a wooded area and an area fragrant with flower. But Brooke’s timber yard and the pungent-smelling Thompson flour mill is hardly on the tourist trail.

Cycling along the Lough shore path running horizontally alongside the M2 is quite bracing, but jogging four and five abreast leads to a lot of bumping and barging. I would hate to be there when the wind blows.

I found it boring and no doubt those wretched souls nearing the end of the marathon looking up and seeing nothing but space on the Sydenham by-pass, were of similar minds.

No, not a good day. But will it change the mind of the Belfast Marathon organisers? Well, when they take their orders from above it may be difficult, but suggestions would be very welcome for next year’s 25th anniversary run.