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Lynn DonnellyLynn is originally from Scotland but now lives in Belfast with her husband and two children Matthew and Clara. Matthew is 13 and has Down’s Syndrome. He entered Mencap’s nursery aged two years old. Lynn is a runner in her spare time and has formed a relay team to complete the 2016 Deep RiverRock Belfast City Marathon in 2016.

We live near Belfast and when Matthew was less than one year old, a community physiotherapist recommended that our family should contact Mencap to enquire about additional family support.

We did this when Matthew was nine months – we were put on a waiting list and finally got a place for Matthew at the Mencap nursery when he was two years old. We were lucky we got that advice – if we’d left it any longer, chances are there would have been no space available for him.

We had such positive experiences at the Mencap Nursery – it was a real haven. All our experiences with mainstream services have been anxious and challenging with difficulties settling in – we had none of this with Mencap.

At Mencap, everyone ‘got it’. Everything was under one roof – occupational therapy, physiotherapy, speech and language therapy, a social worker and a paediatric consultant – they were all on site.

Instead of taking a day off work to take Matthew to a health facility for a six monthly review, I simply took him out of the nursery and walked up a flight of stairs.

The atmosphere in the nursery was like home – the welcome was so warm, you never felt like you were a burden.

If someone asked me why they should ‘do it for Mencap’ I would tell them that presently funding is so limited, there is the threat of cuts constantly, marginalised children like mine are always impacted on much more so than others – funding is so necessary and its very important to keep Mencap’s profile high.

If you’re taking part in the marathon – no matter how – I recommend the Couch to 5K programme which can be downloaded from a Google search or from Itunes for free.

This takes you through the whole process and will get you fit. It will help you gradually build up stamina and help keep you injury free.

Sign up to the Running Bug website – it sends you training plans and nutrition advice – and it’s all free too!

I love to listen to music while running and I find upbeat tracks help me achieve my running goals – I love Jesse J and Katy Perry. One of my favourite running tracks is a song from Will Young called Jealousy but I also love old favourites like Queen.

Runners can simply Google ‘running play lists’ and they’ll find tonnes of great ones to download.

Running Bug also does them and again they’re all free – just go with whatever music motivates you.

I’m a member of the Dub Runners club in Belfast and i’m delighted that my fellow runners have agreed to help me form a relay team and we’re in the process of setting a fundraising target that we feel is achievable.

We’re all looking forward to it and the fact that our efforts will help Mencap is a real motivator for us all.

#StepUp4Mencap and Sign up for 2017 Belfast City Marathon
Marathon Run

The Full 26.2 mile marathon challenge.

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Wheel Chair Marathon

The wheelchair race commences one minute before the main marathon event. The Marathon Organisers, working with DSNI and Disability Action have developed the route suitable for wheel chair users.

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Team Relay Challeng

This challenge is for teams of 2-5 people, running the same course as the Main Marathon Race.

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8 Mile Walk

For those who think the marathon is a bit of a stretch, but who want to put their fitness to the test, try out the marathon walk – you’ll never walk alone!

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Fun Run for Adults

There’s always been a great sense of fun and community at the Belfast City Marathon and the Fun Run is an awesome way to catch the vibe – silly costumes are not compulsory, but they really do help!

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Fun Run for Children

There’s always been a great sense of fun and community at the Belfast City Marathon and the Fun Run is an awesome way to catch the vibe – silly costumes are not compulsory, but they really do help!

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