Published Thursday, 26 September 2013
Mayor Máirtín Ó Muilleoir took part in the city's first half marathon recently (© Presseye)
Now in its 33rd year the Belfast City Marathon takes place on Monday, 5 May.
Entries for the 26.2 mile test of endurance are already flooding in and on Thursday, Mayor Ó Muilleoir called on more people to sign up for the marathon.
The Sinn Féin councillor, a keen runner himself, will be taking part in the May Day run.
He said: "More than 30 years ago, Belfast City Council took the decision to stage the first marathon and, over the intervening years, the event has gone from strength to strength.
"When other marathons fell by the wayside, Belfast continued to grow.
"Now, with the resurgence of interest in running - especially as a cheap and efficient way of getting and staying fit - we are benefiting from record entry numbers each and every year."
While the marathon is undoubtedly a serious business, especially for competitive runners, it is also about having fun and enjoying yourself.
Belfast City Mayor Máirtín Ó Muilleoir
The Lord Mayor recently took part in the city's first half marathon along with over 3,000 others.
He added: "Belfast, quite rightly, is regarded as one of the world's friendliest marathons, and runners from near and far are always encouraged by the warmth of the support they find in all four corners of our city.
"Once again, I would urge the people of Belfast to turn out and support the runners on May Day. Whether it be by offering a glass of water or a slice of fruit, or merely an encouraging word."
Danny O'Connor, Chairman of the Deep RiverRock Belfast City Marathon, added: "It is hugely encouraging that we already have several hundred people signed up to take part this coming year.
"In the past number of years, we have more than doubled the number of people taking part in the event, and, after the very successful first half marathon, we're looking forward to another fantastic year."
As well as being the biggest single participatory sporting event in Northern Ireland, the marathon is also one of the biggest fundraising events, with almost every runner or walker taking part to raise money for charity.
This year the marathon's official charity partner will be CLIC Sargent.
The 2014 event has also attracted two new sponsors.
Sportswear manufacturers Asics and local healthcare company Randox Health will provide support to the event.
Participants can take part in the full marathon, a fun run, walk or relay.
© UTV News