Learning disability charity Mencap NI is calling upon the Northern Ireland public to get behind this year’s Deep RiverRock Belfast City Marathon to make its third and final year as official charity its most successful yet.

Having been charity partner of Deep RiverRock Belfast City Marathon since 2016, Mencap has benefited from £200,000 worth of funds raised thanks to the efforts of participants. The charity hopes that this year more people than ever will choose to run or walk the marathon, fun run or relay in aid of Mencap, to assist with its ground-breaking support for people with a learning disability.

Young Will Stevenson (aged 2 years old) who attends the Mencap Children’s Centre in Belfast, which is run in partnership with the Belfast Health and Social Care Trust, was a special guest at the charity’s recent fundraising launch event for the marathon. His mother, Jacqui, shared her family’s experience:

When we discovered Will had Down’s syndrome, there were a lot of unknowns for us and there is no denying that the first year of Will’s life brought with it a number of questions and challenges.

However, we quickly realised we wanted to fully embrace Will’s learning disability and reached out to Mencap, we have never looked back.



In 2016, I led a relay team at the Deep RiverRock Belfast City Marathon in aid of Mencap, inspired by Will, with our team name ‘Where there’s a Will, there’s a way’ emblazoned on our shirts.

“The experience was so motivational, emotional and positive - and knowing we were raising money for a charity that would help my son’s life was very moving.

“Will now attends Mencap’s Children’s Centre and I cannot say enough about the staff there. The support and expertise provided at the Centre is truly world-class. I hope more and more people get their training shoes on and take part in this year’s Deep RiverRock Belfast City Marathon in aid of Mencap – every single penny raised will go towards helping families like ours.”

Margaret Kelly, Director of Mencap NI added:

“Mencap would like to thank the organisers, sponsors and supporters of the Deep RiverRock Belfast City Marathon for an incredible two years and what looks set to be a huge third and final year of our partnership.

Since 2016, 3,500 members of the Northern Ireland public have pulled on their running shoes on May Day and got moving for Mencap across Belfast’s city streets.

The impact they’ve had on doing so, has been huge.


“Funds raised through this partnership help Mencap to deliver vital employment services supporting adults into employment, gaining work experience and find a job for the first time. Our housing service helps people to live independently, giving them choice on how they live their lives and our new family support service will help parents get the support they need to give their children the best start in life.

“A fun, active and inclusive way of raising funds, the Deep RiverRock Belfast City Marathon is a hugely enjoyable event to be a part of. We would love this final year in our partnership to be the most successful yet and would encourage anyone, regardless of their age or ability, to get behind any of the events offered on the day - and get moving for Mencap.”  

Sign up here for the 2018 Deep RiverRock Belfast City Marathon, Team Relay, 8 Mile Walk or Fun Run events and #MoveIt4Mencap