Alderman Brian Kingston, Lord Mayor of Belfast, was among the VIPs who helped relaunch the Deep RiverRock Belfast City Marathon at the Mencap Centre, Belfast, home of Mencap NI, the official charity partner of this year’s Marathon.
The Lord Mayor, a keen runner, has committed to completing the 26.2-mile race on 1st May 2017 and to fundraising for Mencap through sponsorship.
Speaking at the launch, the Lord Mayor said:
“It was great to see the Mencap Centre today and to celebrate Mencap’s involvement in the 2017 Deep RiverRock Belfast City Marathon. The marathon is a highlight on Belfast’s calendar as it brings people to the city, promotes fitness and creates a unique spectacle and community spirit on our streets.
“It also promotes fundraising for many worthy causes. I am running for Mencap this year because I find the charity’s work so inspiring. The new Mencap Centre serves as a new model for early intervention services across the UK and Ireland, so Belfast is lucky to have this state-of-the art facility. I encourage everyone to join me in running and fundraising in aid of Mencap to help this charity keep changing the lives of local people with a learning disability.”
Margaret Kelly, Director of Mencap in Northern Ireland, added:
“We would like to thank Lord Mayor Brian Kingston for his commitment to running the marathon and raising money for Mencap. A 26.2-mile run is no easy feat, so we appreciate his support for not only participating on Marathon Day but for also logging the training hours.
“As a charity that supports people with a learning disability and their families, we believe anyone can take part in the marathon and its associated events, whether that’s running the Fun Run or simply donating to a friend’s fundraising page. Money raised from marathon support will benefit a variety of Mencap initiatives including a family support programme that will offer bespoke guidance to families with a child diagnosed with a learning disability. This innovative initiative is a first for our charity and it is a crucial step in reaching more families across Northern Ireland.
“I am sure the Lord Mayor’s involvement will inspire the people of Belfast to lend their support in this year’s marathon and we can’t thank him enough for running in aid of Mencap. We’re looking forward to cheering on the Lord Mayor and everyone on Marathon Day!”
The Lord Mayor was just one of the VIPs at the charity’s official launch; Dame Mary Peters CH, DBE was also in attendance, as well as the five members of Mencap’s first learning disability relay team.
In addition to the full race, the 2017 Deep RiverRock Belfast City Marathon also includes a team relay, one of the most popular events. James Martin, a Mencap Young Ambassador and member of the learning disability team, said:
“I have been involved with Mencap since I was 2 years old, when I attended Mencap’s nursery school for children with a learning disability, autism or developmental delay. Mencap has been such an important part of my life since then and it still means so much to me. My team and I have been training for months for the upcoming relay and we are excited to run. We are asking everyone across Northern Ireland to ‘Step Up for Mencap’ and support the charity that has done so much for us.”
To sign up for the team relay, full marathon or any of the other events at the 2017 Deep RiverRock Belfast City Marathon in aid of Mencap, email firstname.lastname@example.org, call 02890 691 351 or visit mencapbigstepforward.org.