An Armagh postman is hoping to deliver some much-needed cash for an autism support group when he takes on the Belfast Marathon in May.
Mark Hughes generally walks around seven or eight miles in an average day as part of his job, but he will be increasing the pace and distance on Sunday, April 30 when he will join hundreds on the 26.2 mile route.
This will be Mark’s second year taking part in the marathon. Last year he ran it for Lisanally School which his son Michael attends.
This year, any money he raises will go to Armagh autism support group Triple A, set up by mum Bernie O’Connor almost six years ago to fill a void in the area.
Eighteen-year-old Michael, who is on the severe end of the autism spectrum and is non-verbal, attends the group which meets once a fortnight in the Dobbin Street Community Centre, where members take part in social activities including arts and crafts.
“Triple A is a great group and I just want to raise some money for them to keep going. There aren’t a lot of groups locally for children and adults with severe autism,” said Mark.
Meanwhile, Triple A – which stands for Autism Action Armagh – is also hosting a fundraising run/walk on Sunday, April 2 at the Palace Demesne in Armagh to mark World Autism Awareness Day.
And Mark, who will be attending it along with his son and wife Joanne, will be using it as a bit of a warm-up event.
Two races are being held – a 5k, which costs £12 to enter, and a 2K, which is £6 to enter.
The group is encouraging runners, walkers, children and and those of all abilities to come out and support the event. Everyone will receive a medal, as well as water and treats at the end. All kids taking part in the 2K will receive a complimentary Easter egg at the end.
There will also be trophies for first and second place in both races.