Runners Raise 40k for Cancer Focus NI

More than 3,500 big-hearted runners and walkers took part in a virtual marathon and raised a magnificent £40k for cash-strapped Cancer Focus Northern Ireland through donations and proceeds from the Event.

The popular lockdown event was organised by Deep RiverRock Belfast City Marathon in addition to the annual May bank holiday race, which had to be cancelled because of Covid-19, to help keep everyone motivated.Local charity Cancer Focus NI, which supports thousands of cancer patients and their families in Northern Ireland each year, is the official race charity partner for 2020.

Runners, walkers and joggers were invited to cover 26.2 miles over a number of days or weeks before June 30, following government social distancing rules. The participants were able to record their times on Garmin or Strava and were rewarded with a virtual race medal. The final times are published on the Belfast City Marathon website.

Kathryn Holland, outdoor events manager, Cancer Focus NI, said: “We are so delighted that Deep RiverRock Belfast City Marathon chose us as their official charity partner. We were so looking forward to the event and, of course, were hugely disappointed that it had to be cancelled due to coronavirus.

“The real road race has been rescheduled and will now take place on May 2, 2021, but in the meantime, to help keep people motivated and raise much-needed funds for us, the organisers came up with the brilliant idea of holding a virtual marathon.

“We are thrilled that so many people came out to support the event and raise money for us.”

Kathryn added: “Due to the current crisis Cancer Focus NI’s income has plummeted to a critically low level and we are worried that we will not be able to keep our doors open. We fear we might not survive to continue to support thousands of people at one of the toughest times of their lives. For each day of lockdown, another 36 local people get cancer, and cancer figures are rising year on year.

“We urgently need your continued help and we’re appealing to everyone to take part in one of our other virtual fundraising events, which you can see on our website

“Your donations are vital to us and every penny raised will stay in Northern Ireland. Your support at this incredibly difficult time is extremely valuable and greatly appreciated. We can’t do it without you.”

You can also support Cancer Focus NI by making a donation today on, text FOCUS to 70660 to donate £5 or text FOCUS £10 to 70660 to donate £10.

Source : Athletics NI