Belfast runner Ryan Collison is set to raise £5,000 for learning disability charity Mencap following his participation at the TCS New York City Marathon Sunday 6th November 2016. Pictured with Ryan Collison (centre) is Gary Clements and Jonathan Hanna from Mencap. To sign up for the 2017 Deep RiverRock Belfast City Marathon, visit mencapbigstepforward.org. Photo Aidan O'Reilly

Belfast runner Ryan Collison is set to raise £5,000 for learning disability charity Mencap following his participation at the TCS New York City Marathon Sunday 6th November 2016. Pictured with Ryan Collison (centre) is Gary Clements and Jonathan Hanna from Mencap. To sign up for the 2017 Deep RiverRock Belfast City Marathon, visit mencapbigstepforward.org. Photo Aidan O'Reilly
Belfast runner Ryan Collison is set to raise £5,000 for learning disability charity Mencap following his participation at the TCS New York City Marathon Sunday 6th November 2016. Pictured with Ryan Collison (centre) is Gary Clements and Jonathan Hanna from Mencap. To sign up for the 2017 Deep RiverRock Belfast City Marathon, visit mencapbigstepforward.org.
Photo Aidan O’Reilly

Mencap’s Marathon Man

Belfast resident Ryan Collison is gearing up to run the TCS New York City Marathon on Sunday 6th November, his fourth marathon since 2015 in aid of local learning disability charity Mencap. Ryan has so far raised £4,500 for the charity and is expected to hit £5,000 after the New York race.

Having always been passionate about supporting others – he is a nurse at Musgrave Park Hospital – Ryan first became interested in Mencap because of his home’s proximity to the new Mencap Centre. Following the Big Step Forward Appeal, which called on the public to help raise £1.7million for a new state-of-art building, Ryan watched the Mencap Centre be built from the ground up.

“I live up the road from the new Mencap Centre and it was encouraging to see exactly what the funds from the Big Step Forward Appeal went to,” Ryan said. “The Mencap Centre is a fantastic example of how fundraising and donating can help a charity and its supporters achieve such a big goal.

“Since then, I’ve become very interested in Mencap and the work they do. The team at Mencap is always working towards changing the attitudes and opinions of people with a learning disability. I think this is important for our community so that is why I continue to log miles for Mencap.”

In addition to the TCS New York City Marathon in November, Ryan will run the Boston Marathon in April and the 2017 Deep RiverRock Belfast City Marathon in May, for which Mencap is the official charity partner.

Vanessa Elder, Head of Regional Fundraising NI, Mencap said:

“People like Ryan are vital to the future of Mencap. We can’t thank him and others like him enough for giving up so much of their free time to support us. We hope Ryan can serve as an inspiration to others to sign up for the 2017 Deep RiverRock City Marathon and marathons around the world in aid of Mencap.”

“Money raised from those taking part in the marathon will help fund a number of exciting initiatives including our soon-to-be-launched family support programme. This programme will provide one-on-one guidance for families with a young child who has a learning disability. It is a crucial step in our long-term goal to reach as many children and families in Northern Ireland as we can.”

As Ryan is in the final stages of training for the New York race, he is calling on runners across Northern Ireland to ramp up their training and add the 2017 Deep RiverRock Belfast City Marathon to their plans.

“Completing a long run like a marathon brings a sense of achievement and builds confidence,” Ryan said. “It is extremely rewarding, especially when you’re doing it for a charity you’re passionate about.

“I encourage all runners to challenge themselves and support Mencap this May. Running has changed my life, so I encourage other runners out there to change their own lives while helping Mencap change the lives of others.”

Entries are now open for the 2017 Deep RiverRock Belfast City Marathon. To sign up or learn how you can #StepUp4Mencap, visitmencapbigstepforward.org, email fundraising.ni@mencap.org.uk or call 028 9069 1351.

Belfast runner Ryan Collison is set to raise £5,000 for learning disability charity Mencap following his participation at the TCS New York City Marathon on Sunday 6th November 2016. Pictured with Ryan Collison (in yellow) is Gary Clements, Jonathan Hanna and Justine Curran from Mencap. To sign up for the 2017 Deep RiverRock Belfast City Marathon, visit mencapbigstepforward.org. Photo Aidan O'Reilly
Belfast runner Ryan Collison is set to raise £5,000 for learning disability charity Mencap following his participation at the TCS New York City Marathon on Sunday 6th November 2016. Pictured with Ryan Collison (in yellow) is Gary Clements, Jonathan Hanna and Justine Curran from Mencap. To sign up for the 2017 Deep RiverRock Belfast City Marathon, visit mencapbigstepforward.org.
Photo Aidan O’Reilly