Lord Mayor, Miss NI and Olympian Kerry OFlaherty inspire community to hurdle to the finish line
Entries are already coming in for the 36th Deep RiverRock Belfast City Marathon following the successful 4th Deep RiverRock Belfast City Half Marathon which, started and finished at Ormeau Park, just over two weeks ago with 3,000 competitors.
The 2017 Full Marathon event will be held on May Day Bank Holiday, 1st May 2017 and was launched this morning (Tuesday 4th October) by David Seaton, Chairman of the Deep RiverRock Belfast City Marathon at the new Mencap Centre, Belfast, home of Mencap NI, the official charity partner of this year’s race.
Technical Race Director, David Seaton said “In the past number of years, we have seen our participant numbers grow as there has been a resurgence of running in the local community and further afield. Whether it is the full marathon distance or a leg in the relay event, many more people are signing up to get involved and more importantly get fit.”
“Following the success of our secondary event, the Deep RiverRock Belfast City Half Marathon on the 18th September 2016, we are confident that entries for the Main Marathon Run will increase, as entrants will want to push themselves to tackle the 26.2mile distance and set themselves a goal.”
Assisting the Chairman to launch the 2017 event at the new Mencap Centre, Lord Mayor of Belfast, Councillor Brian Kingston said: “36 years ago Belfast City Council took the decision to stage the first Belfast City Marathon and, over the intervening years, the event has gone from strength to strength. When other marathons fell by the wayside, Belfast continued to grow. Now, with the resurgence of interest in running – especially as a free and efficient way of getting and staying fit – we are benefiting from record entry numbers each and every year.”
“While the marathon is undoubtedly a serious business, especially for competitive runners, it is also about having fun and enjoying yourself – whether you are a serious runner, or taking part in the relay with a team of friends or just cheering the runners along.
“Belfast, quite rightly, is regarded as one of the world’s friendliest marathons, and runners from near and far are always encouraged by the warmth of the support they find in all four corners of our city. Once again, I would urge the people of Belfast to turn out and support the runners on May Day – whether it be by offering a glass of water or a slice of fruit, or merely an encouraging word,” concluded Councillor Kingston.
In addition to the Deep RiverRock Belfast City Marathon being the biggest single participatory sporting event in Northern Ireland, it is also one of the biggest fundraising events, with almost every runner or walker taking part to benefit charity.
“I’m delighted to announce that, in 2017, we will again be supporting the magnificent work of Mencap, as our officially nominated charity,” announced David Seaton.
Margaret Kelly, Director of Mencap in Northern Ireland, said; “We are so excited to once again be the official charity partner for the Deep RiverRock Belfast City Marathon. Last May we raised an amazing £125,000 and we are calling on everyone across Northern Ireland to help us raise even more in 2017.”
“You don’t have to be a champion runner to take part on Marathon Day – anyone can get involved, whether that’s signing up a relay team or bringing the kids along to the Fun Run. No matter what the event, we encourage everyone to run or walk in aid of Mencap this year.”
Margaret continued “Funds raised from the marathon will go toward a number of initiatives including our soon-to-be-launched Family Support Programme, which will provide bespoke, one-on-one guidance for families with a young child with a learning disability. This innovative initiative is a first for our charity and we are launching it this autumn thanks to the money raised by the marathon. However, we still need funds to help us extend this programme over the next few years and reach even more children and families who urgently need our help.
“We encourage everyone to ‘Step up for Mencap’ this year and we can’t wait to see everyone on Marathon Day!”
Also celebrating the 11th year as title sponsor, Deep RiverRock’s Sponsorship Manager, Rob Crabbe said: "As Northern Ireland’s favourite water brand with its roots in Tullynacross, Co. Antrim, Deep RiverRock is delighted to continue its long standing partnership with Belfast City Marathon in 2017.
“With a shared vision to encourage more people to lead active and hydrated lifestyles, Deep RiverRock’s partnership with Belfast City Marathon is a perfect fit. Deep RiverRock is proud to be associated with such a world class event that resonates so well with the local community and as a company we are honoured to have played a part in the success of what is now a key event in Northern Ireland’s sporting calendar.”
David continued, this year are giving participants an option of receiving their packs via post (standard or special service) or at one of the many race pack collection dates, which can be found on www.belfastcitymarathon.com. This will enable us to ensure everyone receives their pack ahead of time allowing participants to dedicate 100% to their final few weeks of training and preparation. On completion of the event all entrants will receive their new finisher’s pack containing their race t-shirt and a number of goodies.
“We are delighted with these plans for Race Day as it sees us fitting in line with other main races in the UK and Europe. We want to create a celebrative atmosphere on Race Day with the assistance of all our sponsors and official charity, so will be making the entertainment at the finish area bigger and better, an event not to be missed.” David Seaton commented