Mid and East Antrim Borough Council has agreed to support the development of the Antrim Coast Half Marathon as a “significant” international event.
Councillors have been told that the organisers will be seeking financial support from the local authority to the tune of £50,000.
They heard that the organisers will be making an application to the council’s grant programme for an international event which could attract up to 10,000 competitors this year and 20,000 by 2023.
This year’s race has been scheduled to take place during the August bank holiday weekend on Sunday, August 29.
Distance running stars who have already confirmed their place include last year’s women’s race winner Lily Partridge, Berlin Marathon fourth-place winner Scott Overall and Team England.
Last year’s half-marathon was won by four-time Olympic gold medallist Sir Mo Farah who currently holds the British record for half-marathon distance.
A report to council indicated that the club believes that with “sufficient investment from the public and private sector, the event can become a “powerful vehicle to promote tourism numbers, provide a significant wider economic benefit for Mid and East Antrim, boost the reputation of the borough and encourage sports engagement within the community”.
Speaking at a remote meeting of the borough council on Monday evening, Ballymena SDLP Councillor Eugene Reid said: “I can’t express my support enough for this event.. It is hugely successful and well-run by the organisers.
He commented that restrictions may have to be put in place this year due to the Covid pandemic.
He added: “I am more than happy to propose we support this wholeheartedly. It will be a driver for tourism and also a driver for well-being and health.”
Coast Road Alliance councillor Alderman Gerardine Mulvenna added: “This is an excellent event. It raised the profile even more with Sir Mo Farah.”
The organisers believe that the Antrim Coast Half Marathon is one of the fastest if not the fastest course in Europe.