Ryan McHugh is a All-Star GAA footballer who plays for Donegal and he is an avid supporter of Mencap. We caught up with him recently whilst training intensely at Ulster University’s football grounds and asked him about how he would motivate others to participate in marathon events like ours!
1. Why have you decided to take part and run the full 26.2 miles of this year’s Deep River Rock Belfast Marathon? What motivated you to enter and train during the winter months?
As a GAA Allstar footballer I am always happy to shout about a deserving charity and Mencap is no different. The charity’s mission is all about giving people with a learning disability a voice and making sure everyone is included. Due to my football training schedule, I am not available to run the marathon but am very supportive of the event and am going to be motivating the Powerhouse 20 relay team from Tyrone so that they succeed on the day.
2. Why have you become an official ambassador for Mencap and what’s your personal ambition by getting more involved?
Be committed, challenge yourself and have fun!
3.What would be your top reason why people should get involved and #StepUp4Mencap and what are your tips for staying active and for endurance running?
Train your body with a slow build up to the distance… take it easy and rest well and properly on your rest days. Good nourishment – particularly slow release proteins and porridge really does help your body to push itself to the limits but also maintain endurance during your training sessions. Start with shorter distances and goals and build yourself up to the full marathon. Regularly shorter bursts of endurance running are far easier to achieve and mentally give you a sense of achievement!
4.When you have finished the marathon…. What is the first thing that comes to mind? Upon reflection, how would you do things differently when training for next year’s marathon?
Well to be honest, I have not done a marathon yet but am a keen supporter and envious of all those who have achieved this. I would suggest starting the training sessions earlier on during lighter, warmer months might be advisable and wearing good quality running shoes to avoid any injuries.
The Full 26.2 mile marathon challenge.Sign Up Now
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.Sign Up Now
This challenge is for teams of 2-5 people, running the same course as the Main Marathon Race.Sign Up Now
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!Sign Up Now
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!Sign Up Now