The P&O Ferries Antrim Coast Half Marathon takes place on 12th September as an elite only race and sees a stunning field competing over the fast course

With the original race due to take place in March as an elite and mass race, the reorganised elite race sees a fantastic field of British, Irish and international athletes competing over a super fast course on the stunning Antrim Coast.

Farah and Connor head men’s field

A week on from his attempt at the world hour record Mo Farah is the headline name in the men’s elite field. The British Half Marathon record holder has a PB of 59:07 set at last year’s Great North Run. The winner of 10 World and Olympic titles announced his participation in the race last week after several months of work by the race to secure his involvement.

Ben Connor has gradually been working his way up the UK all time lists over distances form 5km-HM over the last few years. The Derby man started 2020 in fantastic form with a 10km PB of 28:10 at 10K Valencia Ibercaja and a half marathon PB of 61:34 Barcelona Half in February.

Marc Scott can also be expected to challenge in his debut half marathon. Having broken the British road 5km record at Podium 5km in August the Bowerman TC athlete has set big PBs over 3000m (7:43.48) and 1500m (3:35.93) in 2020 and has a 10000m best of 27:56.

Olympian’s Scott Overall (61:25) and Nick McCormick (62:44) have two of the fastest PBs of the field and they are going against World 50km Champion Iraitz Arrospide Garro who set a PB of 2:10:59 at the Valencia Marathon last year.

In a packed field other names to watch out for are Olympian Kev Seaward, who clocked 2:10:08 at the Seville marathon in February, and fellow Irishman Steve Scullion who achieved Olympic qualification with 2:11:52 for 5th at the Chevron Houston Marathon also in February.

Add into the mix Adam Craig, fresh off the back of victory at Mid Cheshire 5K, and then also one of the world’s leading ultra distance runners Tom Evans in fine form after a huge PB of 13:41 at Podium 5km. The race is looking feisty.

Partridge and Harrison head to head again

After their fantastic tussle at the Big Half in March Lily Partridge and Samantha Harrison face each other again over the half marathon distance.

Harrison clocked 15:48 in her debut road 5km at Mid Cheshire last week and ran 71:01 to finish 2nd behind Partridge at the Big Half achieving GB qualification for the World Half in the process. Still very early in her career it was only two years ago Harrison ran 84 minutes at the 2018 Robin Hood Half Marathon.

Lily Partridge has a PB of 70:31 and was returning to some of her best form prior to lockdown after struggling with injury in 2019. Her time of 70:50 to win the Big Half in March was her fastest half marathon in nearly five years and the 2:29 marathoner will be looking to have a strong run out before the London Marathon in early October.

Ann-Marie McGlynn has come flying out of lockdown setting a new 10km best of 32:43 in July and 5000m PB of 16:05.85 in August. McGlynn set a half marathon best of 72:12 at the Barcelona Half Marathon in February and is the Northern Ireland all-comers record holder.

With an Olympic marathon standard already in the bag Steph Davis has been able to set her sights on other areas this summer. The Clapham Chaser was another GB qualifier for the World Half in March as she set a PB of 71:15 to finish 3rd at the Big Half.

Olympian and World 50km Champion and record holder Alyson Dixon lines up alongside the UK’s fourth fastest half marathon runner and European Cross gold medallist, Gemma Steel who’s best of 68:13 was set in 2014.

The likes of Lucy Reid and Clara Evans add great depth to a women’s field alongside British 1500m Champion Holly Archer.

‘Best domestic half marathon’

James McIlroy has been the man in charge of putting together the elite field;

“I feel it is the best domestic half marathon field ever in UK and Ireland” says the 2000 Olympic 800m athlete “we’ve worked incredibly hard to get together the strongest domestic field possible, all made up of UK, Irish or UK based athletes”.

Fast Running’s Tom Craggs pays tribute to the organisers – “it’s fantastic see the hard work James and the team at Antrim have put in come together with this stunning field. The postponement of the mass race in March was a big blow and it is testament to the passion and commitment of the organisers that they have got the elite race on and with and even stronger elite field than before.”

The race takes place on a pancake flat course along the beautiful Antrim coastline. Early registrations are being taken for the 2021 mass race on the event website.

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