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Homelessness Charity Sprints Ahead With Inclusive Marathon Training Initiative

04 March 2019

Simon Community NI rolls out couch to 10k training for staff, clients and supporters ahead of Belfast City Marathon.

A flagship event for charities across Northern Ireland, the Deep River Rock Belfast City Marathon is a fun way for individuals, communities and organisations to get out, get active and have fun while fundraising along the way. 

Now in its 38th year, this year’s marathon is expected to attract over 17,000 participants who will pound the pavement on a new route from Stormont to Ormeau Park. Taking part on the day will be teams from Simon Community NI with the charity looking for individuals and businesses to join them to run and help end homelessness.

Supporting over 3,000 vulnerable people each year, Simon Community is Northern Ireland’s largest homelessness charity – working across 22 locations. With homelessness on the rise, more than ever the charity relies on fundraising to help support the design and delivery of vital services such as Harm Reduction and Addiction Support. The marathon plays a major part in the charity’s fundraising calendar with over £16,000 being raised in 2018 by generous runners. 

Growing on the success of last year’s marathon, this year Simon Community NI are developing a couch to 10k training initiative for staff, clients and those supporting the organisation. Designed to get people of all abilities run ready, the training will allow participants to learn at their own rate with informal group runs planned to introduce members of Team Simon to one another.

Keen runner and Simon Community NI Director of Finance, Siobhan Laverty commented:

Last year, we had a client who took up running, and ultimately completed the marathon, as a way to manage their wellbeing while living at one of our hostels. This year, we want to encourage more staff and clients to join our marathon team and have developed a 10k beginners training programme to better support their hard work. Through pre-training and social events, our hope is that members of the public and our corporate partners will also join us to learn more about the charity and meet some of the individuals their fundraising will support.

Head of Simon Community NI Income Generation, Joanne McCallister, highlighted the important role corporate teams play in fundraising for the charity:

The marathon is one of my favourite events to work with corporate partners on as it is associated with fantastic team building activity, a real sense of fun on the day and a cumulative sense of achievement when the marathon is completed. The relay option works well for many companies as it creates a sense of friendly competition and is more manageable for those who are not used to long distance running. I encourage those interested in supporting a local charity to speak to Simon Community NI to find out how we can support your training and fundraising needs.

For more information on our weekly training programmes or to let us know you're joining a social run, email 

If you are interested in joining Team Simon at this year’s Marathon, register to run at and choose Simon Community NI as your charity of choice. 

Once you have your Unique Race Number, speak to our fundraising team for your free Simon Community NI running t-shirt, fundraising pack and to find out more about the charity's relay training that is due to commence on 11th March.