The EAM’s team explain their genesis;
East Antrim marathon Series, the story so far……..
Are you sitting comfortably? Then let’s begin…….
Not so long ago in the fair village of Greenisland in County Antrim, two local marathon running superheros (The Six million Dollar Man and Superman, aka Craig Mills and Pete Montgomery (more on that later)), had the idea of organising their own marathon series. Obviously, the night this plan was hatched they had taken on board a few too many pints of Guinness. However, despite all the obstacles that were set out in front of them (life is too short to try and explain this here), they duly ran their first East Antrim Marathon on the 31st December 2013, starting at Loughshore Park in Whiteabbey, following the coast around Belfast Lough to Cultra, and then back again. The weather was inclement, the numbers were small but it was obvious they were onto something special. From there, using Facebook they organised races regularly throughout 2014 (another 7 to be exact).
With every race, the numbers grew as word spread of the East Antrim Marathon series, with runners coming from all over Ireland, even England and Scotland to join the merry throng. What was special about these races was not just the excellent organisation, marshalling and interesting and varied routes. The welcome in East Antrim was always a warm one, one filled with laughter, friendliness and mutual support for each other.
The marathons catered for the expert and novice alike and indeed many runners can put down East Antrim as the day they lost their marathon cherry! Things have moved on significantly from those early days, culminating in the November 2014 Superhero Fancy Dress Marathon in which over 50 runners took on distances from 10k to the full 26.2 miles dressed as their favourite superhero, raising over £2000 for the Danielle McGriskin Brain Tumour Charity (now you know where the Six Million Dollarn and Superman thing comes from!) Indeed, word had spread far with the runners making the front page of the Belfast Telegraph the next day (and not for the first time!)
The final run of the year saw the East Antrim Marathon series celebrating a busy year of running and fun with a repeat of the 2013 marathon around Belfast Lough. Numbers were more than double from the previous year but importantly, the whole spirit of the occasion was still true to that first marathon a year before. The weather was again cold and wet, but the welcome was as warm as ever with a piper to pipe them off in the pouring rain (and a wee shot of whiskey to help as well!). Many of the runners that day celebrated significant achievements (25 marathons, 100 marathons, 150 marathons and 250 marathons!).
Obviously a lot of hard work goes into running these events and they don’t happen by magic but Craig and Pete have been ably supported by their wives, families, friends and fellow runners who have helped in many ways during the past year (marshalling, timekeeping, cycling routes, buying goodies, sponsoring but to name a few things). So what does the future hold? Well, many more races are planned for 2015, including a solar eclipse marathon in March, a group running as Star Wars characters in the Belfast Marathon in May, and another charity run later in the year in aid of PANDAS charity. Indeed, there will be many more marathons in between these.
So earlier, I asked you if you sitting comfortably? If you are then you need to get up off your backside and get up to Greenisland this year and run in an East Antrim Marathon. The welcome is always warm, it doesn’t matter if it’s your first or 101st marathon, we would love to see you there. If you want to know more you can find us on Facebook (or running the roads in East Antrim keeping everyone safe dressed as superheros). If I’m honest, I think this story has a lot more to run…….