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Record-Breaking Event Shines a Spotlight on Northern Ireland


Pictured left to right, Michele Shirlow MBE, Tourism NI Board Member, Sir Mo Farah and David Roberts, Director of Strategic Development at Tourism NI.

Thousands of local and international elite runners joined together over the bank holiday to participate in the 2021 Antrim Coast Half Marathon.

This year’s Antrim Coast Half Marathon was ranked number one in the world, with over 100 runners participating in the international elite race, over 400 in the sub-elite race and record numbers who participated in the mass race.

Four-time Olympic champion Mo Farah returned this year as an ambassador while also commentating for the BBC.


The race started and finished in Larne and highlighted Northern Ireland as a location well suited to hosting world-class events, with over 100,000 people watching the event live worldwide.

Commenting on the event, David Roberts, Director of Strategic Development at Tourism NI commented:

“We were delighted to sponsor the Antrim Coast Half Marathon this year. The event presented a fantastic opportunity to showcase Northern Ireland and shine a spotlight on our beautiful landscape with elite international athletes and ambassador Sir Mo Farah. Events like this are crucial to our local economy and help boost the profile of tourism in Northern Ireland.”

Pictured left to right, David Roberts, Director of Strategic Development at Tourism NI, Sir Mo Farah and Michele Shirlow MBE, Tourism NI Board Member.



He added: “It is heartening to see the growing public desire to attend outdoor events as restrictions continue to ease. The organisers did a sterling job which showcased the beauty of the destination in a safe and welcoming environment.”

Shane Clarke, Tourism Ireland’s Director of Corporate Services, Policy & Northern Ireland, said:

“This year’s Antrim Coast Half Marathon was an excellent opportunity to highlight our breathtaking coastline in GB – our largest overseas tourism market – with live coverage of the event airing on BBC. As we begin to restart overseas tourism, it was a really great way to shine a spotlight on Northern Ireland.”

Event organiser, James McIlroy said:

“It was a very special moment when Yalemzerf Yehualaw broke the world record becoming the first woman ever to break 64 minutes for the half marathon, and it makes her so happy that she did it in Larne. To do this in our first year as a World Athletics label series event is unbelievable, and the race will go from strength to strength from this point, attracting many more big names and numbers in the elite and mass races next year.”