A BANGOR teacher will be tackling the Belfast Marathon this month in aid of a children’s heart charity.
Undertaking the 26.2 mile event on April 30 is history teacher and rugby coach at Bangor Academy, James Stewart.
He will be hitting the streets of Belfast to raise funds for the Children’s Heartbeat Trust, an organisation dedicated to helping children with heart problems.
James said the driving force behind his choice of charity is the ongoing plight of an old colleague at Campbell College, whose child had been born with a heart condition.
“When the children become quite unwell, it can be quite scary for them, their parents and carers,” said James. “In terms of fundraising, this is a charity I would definitely want to help, knowing somebody who is being particularly affected by it.”
“When the announcement for the Belfast Marathon came up in December, I jumped at it. I instantly knew the Children’s Heartbeat Trust was who I wanted to raise the money for.
“I would do a fair bit of running,” he added. “During lockdown, I really started kicking on with the running.
“I was wanting to run in the Belfast Marathon, but because of Covid it had stopped. This was my first time being able to get signed up,” said the history teacher.
Setting up a JustGiving page for his athletic efforts, James has so far raised over £800.
Donations are vital to the childrens’ heart charity, with a £25 donation being able to pay for a sensory toy, £500 can get a Sats monitor, and £1,000 is able to fund a paediatric first aid course for families who need it.
This is not the Bangor teacher’s first time running for charity. James decided he would bring some positivity during the height of the Covid-19 lockdowns in April 2021, so he and his friend Ryan Latimer decided to run 100 miles over the course of a month, raising around £3,600 for Prostate Cancer UK.
The 100 miles was topped off with a makeshift marathon around the North Down coast, where they ran the final 26.2 miles.
Tackling another endurance after his maiden marathon two years ago, James says he is now taking this one ‘more seriously’, and is now joined by personal trainers, Jacqui Maxwell and Matty Tunnah.
“For the Belfast Marathon, I have been taking it more seriously. I have been training since the start of January,” he said.
“Jacqui Maxwell has been doing my running program, and a local guy, Matty Tunnah, who has run marathons, has been doing my strength. and conditioning.
“I am a lot more prepared this time, as last time I was completely winging it,” concluded the history teacher.
More about the Children’s Heartbeat Trust can be found at www.childrensheartbeattrust.org.