Q. Why have you decided to take part in 2017’s Deep RiverRock Belfast City Marathon?

A: Primarliy because Fiona Cole is one of the most persuasive people I know, but also because it is a privilege to support the excellent work Mencap does for children with a learning disability.

Q. Why have you become an official ambassador for Mencap? Do you have any personal connections to the charity?

A: As deputy Chairperson of the Assembly Education Committee and Chairperson of the Assembly Learning Disability Group I have worked with many of the fantastic people at Mencap on the important issue of Special Educational Needs provision and in particular the campaign against the reduction of SEN Nursery Hours from full time to part time across Northern Ireland.

Q: What would be your top reason why people should get involved and #StepUp4Mencap and what are your tips for staying active?

A: People should #StepUp4Mencap because the advocacy and support Mencap provides for children with a learning disability and special educational needs is absolutely life changing. Top tip for staying active is just do it. Whatever type of activity is most appropriate for you, walking, jogging, cycling or sport and make sure you give your body the fuel and care it needs to stay active for you.

Q: Mencap is the official charity partner of the 2017 Deep RiverRock Belfast City Marathon. We want to encourage others to get active for Mencap – what reasons would you give other people to encourage them to take on a Marathon challenge and fundraise for Mencap in the 2017 Deep RiverRock Belfast City Marathon?

A: If I can do it, anyone can do it!

Get yourself signed up for the Belfast Marathon today, individually or as part of a team and get fundraising for the fantastic and vital work Mencap does to support children and families living with a learning disability.

Q:What are your best words of advice for someone who is taking on a big challenge, like the marathon for Mencap?

A: It is only impossible until it is done. Get started, set yourself small achievable goals and build up. Get people around you to support you as much as they can with donations and motivation. Never give up.

Neil Mercer

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
Read more

James Martin Q and A

James Martin is a Mencap ambassador who attended Mencap’s old Segal House nursery in Belfast from the age of 2.
Read more