Ballymoney lady Amber Getty is training for her first full marathon and getting others to come along to support Mencap, the official charity of the 2016 Deep RiverRock Belfast City Marathon.
As well as raising sponsorship for running the full 26.2 miles, the 26-year-old has recruited 12 relay teams to take part in the marathon on behalf of Mencap.
Amber has always been passionate about supporting others, having worked and volunteered with adults with a learning disability for more than 10 years.
“I have always enjoyed the rewards and challenges that supporting people with a learning disability can bring,” Amber said.
“I have seen how people with a learning disability are sometimes not given the same opportunities and are often left behind. Mencap fights for the voices of people with learning disabilities to be heard, as well as supporting them and their families in everyday life. I think that is really important.”
For Amber, her link with Mencap is very personal. She grew up with her cousin, Adam Martin, who has Down’s syndrome and she observed the boundaries Adam has faced.
“Adam would not think twice about going out to socialise with friends now, but I know it has taken time to break down the barriers, both for Adam himself and by the people he has met,” Amber continued.
“I think Mencap plays a key role in helping to dispel misconceptions about people with a learning disability and that is why I am so passionate about supporting them in any way I can.”
Amongst Amber’s recruits for the marathon are a group of her training mates from Ironfist Gym in Ballymoney who will be tackling the relay, and the gym’s proprietor and personal trainer Rosie McIntyre who will be running the full route.
“Amber has really inspired us all to take part in the marathon for Mencap,” Rosie said.
“I know all the ladies are enjoying the challenge of the training, and we’ve developed a real comradery – knowing that we are raising funds for a really important cause has spurred us on.”
As well as seeking participants for the full marathon event, Mencap is calling on relay teams, walkers and fun-runners to #Doit4Mencap in May. Vanessa Elder, Regional Fundraising Manager for Mencap in Northern Ireland said,
“We hope Amber inspires people to support Mencap by taking part in the Deep RiverRock Belfast City Marathon this spring. Every week, two babies in Northern Ireland are born with a learning disability. With the right support at the right time, these children can live full and happy lives.”
“Mencap’s services are there to support and empower people with a disability and their families. Funds raised from the marathon will help us offer more community programmes, such as after school clubs, summer play schemes and respite days in cities and towns across Northern Ireland. We also intend to launch a new family support service ensuring that when a child is born with a learning disability we are there to support them and their family. We are grateful for people like Amber to help make these important services possible.”
For others thinking of signing up for the Deep RiverRock Belfast City Marathon, Amber said participants do not have to be the next Paula Radcliffe to take part and support the cause.
“I never thought I would be running a marathon but here we are,” Amber commented.
“Setting a challenge is the best way to inspire yourself to keep active. I would not describe myself as a running fanatic, but the support of my family and friends is keeping me going in my training. I try to inform others about Mencap and encourage them to get involved in fundraising because it is an organisation I am extremely passionate about.”
To find out how you can #DoIt4Mencap by supporting Mencap in the 2016 Deep RiverRock Belfast City Marathon and its associated events, please visit mencapbigstepforward.org, email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 028 9069 1351.