Return to Mencap Northern Ireland

After completing the Deep RiverRock Belfast City Marathon last year, Neil Mercer of West Belfast is in the midst of training for his next challenge: the 2017 Deep RiverRock Belfast City Half Marathon. And just like he did last year, Neil is again running and fundraising aid of learning disability charity Mencap.

“I was delighted to complete the full Deep RiverRock Belfast City Marathon in May, and I’m proud to say that my time of 3 hours and 12 minutes qualified me for the London Marathon. Neil said. “But my focus for now is getting ready for the half marathon. Training is going well and I can’t wait to get out there on the 1st of May!”

Mencap, which supports children and young people with a learning disability and their families, is the official charity of the Deep RiverRock Belfast City Marathon and the Half Marathon until 2018. Since the announcement of the charity’s partnership with the event for three years, Neil has taken a special interest in the organisation and he has shown his support through running.

“For me running allows me to combine some of my key passions,” Neil said. “First and foremost, it’s a great way to raise money for a worthy cause and, in my opinion, there is none better than Mencap. The charity plays a crucial role in the community, supporting children with a learning disability and their families. I recently witnessed Mencap’s work when I visited the new Mencap Children’s Centre. Simply put, without Mencap’s support many of these children would not be able to reach their full potential. It’s great to know that putting myself to the test like this can make a real difference in their lives.”

But for Neil, a member of the Belfast City Airport Fire Service, running has also proven to be a great way to stay active: “Keeping fit is important for my work, and running has helped a lot with this. It’s relatively low cost and you get to meet all sorts of people, especially at a big race day event like half marathon coming up. It’s fantastic to come together with other like-minded runners to achieve something great.”

Neil Mercer - Marathon Day 2016

For anyone considering lacing up their trainers and taking on a long-distance race like a marathon, Neil says runners shouldn’t be intimidated by the task: “A distance event like the half marathon can be daunting to many people, but actually it can be a great starting point. I think preparation is key. If you plan out your training, and keep up the regime you’ll find it much easier on the day.”

“I urge anyone who is considering signing up for the full marathon to fundraise do it and #StepUp4Mencap! I’ve learned so much about the charity, I can tell all runners that any money they raise for Mencap will go towards truly deserving children and their families in Northern Ireland.”

Vanessa Elder, Head of Fundraising for Mencap NI added: “We are very excited to be the official partner of the 2017 Deep RiverRock Belfast City full Marathon and extremely grateful to firefighters runners like Neil for taking part on behalf of Mencap. Without our supporters we would not be able to provide important services, such as our new family support programme which will help parents navigate raising a child with a learning disability. We’re very much looking forward to the big event – we’ll be there cheering for Neil and all the Mencap runners at the finish line!”

The Deep RiverRock Belfast City full Marathon is happening on Bank Holiday Monday 1st May and the deadline to enter is Friday 14th of April.

#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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