Alastair Donaghy from Ballymena Runners will be joining thousands of runners at this years Belfast marathon.
"I am delighted to be running in the Belfast Marathon on the 5th May in support of the Corrymeela Centre and our local Foodbank. This will be my ninth marathon and I am looking forward to the challenge".
As Secretary to Ballymena Runners AC Alastair has been working for the past three months in partnership with the volunteer teams at Corrymeela. The local running club has also teamed up with Ballycastle Runners AC on a training schedule, and much needed moral support, for runners completing the full marathon, and for those taking part in the popular marathon relay event.
"Why Corrymeela? Anyone who knows me will know of my passion for cross community engagement, and my work with local groups in Ballymena, including the Inter-Ethnic Forum. This can be difficult and sensitive work and I have benefited over the years from the support and wise counsel from the good folks at the Corrymeela Centre".
Corrymeela is Northern Ireland’s oldest peace and reconciliation organisation, beginning before “The Troubles” and continuing now in Northern Ireland’s changing post–conflict society.
From its first days, Corrymeela has been a place of gathering, work, faith and discussion; bringing people of different backgrounds, different political and religious beliefs and different identities together. Corrymeela has always had a healthy combination of three types of people who have invested their time at the centre in Ballycastle. People who, like the early founders, had their own careers but who dedicated many, many hours to the work. Those who had the time to volunteer for longer periods of time on–site and invest in the lived community of Corrymeela. And full–time staff whose skill; expertise and leadership gave shape to the permanent work of Corrymeela.
A number of the international volunteers based at Corrymeela will join local runners from Ballycastle and Ballymena at the Marathon Relay event - some running the shorter 4 mile distance, others the longer 7 mile distances, and some doing the whole 26.2 miles marathon.
Among the Corrymeela volunteers from USA, South Korea, Germany, Sweden and England taking part will be Alex Wimberly, the chaplain at Corrymeela: Commenting on why he is taking part Alex said: "I work closely with our volunteers. Although I've never participated in a marathon relay before, I am delighted to be a part of this team raising money for local food banks and the volunteers' department. This is also a great opportunity for us to reach out to partners in the surrounding area, and to extend the visibility of Corrymeela even further."
Ballymena Runners have two relay teams entered representing the club; Stephen Brown, Martin Harris, Jonny Graham, Hugo Carlin, David Rainey, Paul Murphy, Nigel Davidson, Chris Davies, Judith Brown, and Patricia Carruthers. Ballymena Runners club member Pamela Davies also has two teams running in partnership with Ballymoney High School, as well three relay teams from Ballycastle Runners. Alastair Donaghy is running the full marathon.
One third of all Marathon donations with be given to the Ballycastle and Ballymena Foodbanks. The Foodbanks rely on the support of the local community and churches to help local people in crisis.
As well as the Marathon Relay fundraising, the partnership are holding two Pub Quizes. The first was a few weeks ago at the Anzac Bar in Ballycastle (raising almost £500). The second is this Friday (3 May) at Ballymena Bowling Club at 8.00pm. Usual rules apply, maximum six in a team and £5 per person, and everyone is welcome to come along and join in.