Antrim Coast bids to stage World Road Running Champs

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Northern Ireland event joins forces with sponsor Clearer Water in effort to host global championships for half-marathon, 5km and one mile

The Antrim Coast Half Marathon has launched its bid for the 2025-26 World Road Running Championships.

The event takes place for the first time later this year in Riga, Latvia, with its predecessor being the World Half-Marathon Championships.

Antrim Coast organisers have teamed up with Clearer Water to form a bid and they expect the event to attract 35,000 runners from over 160 countries, with the event broadcast across the world.

The origins of this global event date back to 1992 and it has been held biennially until now, when it will be hosted annually from 2025. The Antrim Coast Half Marathon team are delighted to see their bid being the first to come from Northern Ireland and across the island of Ireland to host the event.

The application to host the 2025 edition in Northern Ireland’s Antrim Coast was put together by Antrim Coast Half Marathon founders James and Ruth McIlroy, plus businessmen and co-chairmen of the award-winning Clearer Water, Ross Lazaroo-Hood and Sitki Gelmen.

James and Ruth McIlroy

In collaboration with Tourism NI, Mid & East Antrim Borough Council, UK Athletics, the UK Government and The Clearer Group, the bid panel say they have huge experience in activating global mass participation events, shown by the Antrim Coast Half Marathon’s being only one of two events in the UK and Ireland to be awarded World Athletics Elite Label status.

“It feels like the natural progression,” said former 800m international runner McIlroy. “Last year, we had over 20 nationalities participate in the event and all the overseas runners where in awe of the coastline course, with 100-metre-high cliffs on one side and views of the Mull of Kintyre and Scotland close on the other. So, we thought bidding for the World Road Running Championships would be a fantastic opportunity to showcase the Antrim Coast and Northern Ireland to the whole world.

“We know the event will have stiff competition from across the globe, but like ‘The Open’ golf in 2019, I’d be confident that Northern Ireland would overdeliver putting on a fantastic spectacle and showcase our famous hospitality.”

READ MORE: Riga ready to welcome the Worlds

The Antrim Coast Half Marathon is regarded as one of the most beautiful races in the world, which was also the backdrop of the HBO’s Game of Thrones and its spin-off House of the Dragon set locations, in addition to being the gateway to the Glens of Antrim, an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty and UNESCO world heritage site that brings the local communities and hospitality further showcased onto the world stage.

The event was first held in 2020 and has already witnessed some superb races such as Mo Farah winning on the course, Yalemzerf Yehualaw setting an unratified world record, in addition to UK and Ireland all-comers’ records.

Mo Farah (Keith McClure)

The successful bid to host the 2025 and 2026 World Road Running Championships will be announced at the end of May 2023, with McIlroy adding: “The Antrim Coast Half Marathon event will have major announcements in mid-March which we are very excited to share with everyone.”

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