THE SPAR Craic 10k may be the start of Belfast's St Patrick's Day celebrations, but its worldwide appeal has been reaffirmed with Aflac NI retaining its sponsorship.

This will be the third year Aflac NI, a US Fortune-500 company with its Belfast base hosting its cyber security and digital services, have come on board, reinforcing the global appeal of both the company and SPAR Craic 10k.

“We are proud to be a sponsor of the Spar 10k for a third year running – pun intended,” said Managing Director and VP of Aflac Northern Ireland, Mark McCormack.

“It’s great to see our team and the wider community take part in such a fun-filled event that focuses on health and wellbeing.

“With the numbers increasing again this year it is a testament to the team at Aisling Events who have built such a key event in the calendar. Good luck to everyone taking part.”

Thousands of runners will set off from Belfast City Hall on St Patrick's morning, following the 10k route that finishes in Ormeau Park, part of the wider Belfast City Council efforts to create an all-inclusive celebration of the national saints’ day.

An inclusive, fun event which attracts all levels of runners from across the island and beyond, SPAR Craic 10k is Belfast’s premier urban run. As we take to the road again, we issue the warm, Irish welcome of ‘céad míle fáilte — come along for the Craic’.

Participant numbers are capped at 4,500 this year so be sure to get your registration in early.

The early bird rate of £20 is available up until March 3, the price rising to £25 thereafter.

The entry fee includes a personalised bib, chip, medal and finish line refreshments.

Any runners aged 16 or under who wish to run must be accompanied by adult and written consent should be sent to organisers by parents or guardian.