Belfast Marathon

Running for God's purposes

Beth Hand was one of our relay runners at the 2018 Belfast marathon. Inspired to raise money for rural communities in Zimbabwe, and spurred on by Paul’s words in Romans (as well as some words from Usain Bolt!), Beth laced up her trainers and got training!


Belfast. 7th May 2018. The words of Usain Bolt ran through my head as I watched out for my team mate “train hard, turn up, run your best and the rest will take care of itself”. Bolt and I are in no way similar in fact I am his complete opposite especially in regards my athletic ability; in rounders I would be the one to put the team out, in squash I get hit with the ball and normally even the sight of football on the television puts meet sleep (perhaps a blessing to my husband so that he can peacefully watch the slaughter of his beloved Leeds FC). 


However, for the past few years one thing has taken me off the sofa and out into the highways and byways in my trusty trainers… Belfast City Marathon Relay for WDR. I think this is the one stage at which I get excited about running. The cold, wet and miserable training is an honour when you know that many are running alongside you to raise funds and awareness for partners connected WDR. Paul wrote in Romans “so we, though many, are one body in Christ” and I love that we have the opportunity to stand with our brothers and sisters though miles apart. It is a blessing to be able to run, walk or jog knowing that God uses it for His purposes.


The day itself was thrilling with runners of all shapes and sizes spread like confetti over the city of Belfast. I dropped my husband off at the starting line (as he was running the full marathon) and headed to the change over point for my leg. When I arrived there was already a sea of Methodists in their luminous WDR bibs stretching and chatting. Most of us were a little apprehensive but filled with the adrenaline rush of community and excitement. We stood together waiting for our teammates and on their arrival it was our turn. Step after step we ran along the route watching faces cheer, smile and encourage us as the miles passed by. 


As we crossed the finishing line I felt exhilarated and exhausted but mostly thirsty! I drank nearly a whole bottle of water and as I held it in my hand I was reminded of why I had signed up in the first place. Dabane Water Workshops work in Zimbabwe to find and implement creative water solutions, something we very much take for granted. It is a gift that all should have access to and so as I had trained this was in the forefront of my mind. If we are one body in Christ then I must do my part to ensure that resources are shared equally and fairly so that all may know his provision and love. 


The marathon relay was one of the best things I have done and I hope that as a family we can continue to be part of WDR and their efforts through the marathon. Please think about joining up, you will be part of a community as you run and part of God’s mission as you cross the finishing line. 


Want to follow in Beth’s footsteps and join us at the marathon? Get in touch!

Run, Christiaan, Run!

Rev. Christiaan Snell ran the full 26.2 miles for WDR in the 2018 Belfast Marathon. Here he tells us why he decided to take part!

Last year I decided to run the Belfast Marathon.  I am new to marathon running and completed my first marathon in 2017, so I set the goal of running two marathons in one year. 

Christiaan after the race

Christiaan after the race

Being new to the Methodist church I also thought it would be a good opportunity to get involved with the church in another way. 

When I ran my first marathon in 2017, it was just to tick it off my bucket list.  However in deciding to run Belfast in 2018 in the back of my mind I knew I wanted to run to raise funds for a worthy cause. Being from Cape Town originally, I have been so mindful of the crises my home city has been facing with drought and the scarcity of water.  

When I heard that WDR was looking for people raise funds for an essential organisation like Dabane in Zimbabwe I was immediately sold.  Running for Dabane was a great away of supporting those who are on the forefront of providing clean water to people who need such a basic thing.  

It was wonderful to be part of the Belfast marathon on the day.  Personally I achieved a massive PB for my marathon time which I was chuffed about. However, what made the day even more special was that I knew that I was one of many people running on the day supporting the same cause.  It was a real encouragement on the road to run past other runners wearing the same green bibs. 

If you are thinking about running in the Belfast marathon for WDR, don’t hesitate to sign up.  It is a wonderful way to make those aware around us of needs elsewhere.  It is a wonderful way to support WDR and the great work they are doing under the umbrella of the Methodist Church in Ireland to show our love in action.  

Apart from all of this, it’s just a great day to be part of whether you are a seasoned marathon runner or just taking on your first race. Get registered!


If you’d like to register to take part, please contact us! We’d love to have you on board!

These feet were made for walking...

In 2018, Tom and Sheila Millar joined the WDR efforts at the Belfast Marathon, raising money for Dabane Water Workshops in Zimbabwe. Tom (Communications Co-ordinator for the Methodist Church in Ireland) tells us about his experience at the 2018 Belfast City Marathon…

As an enthusiastic walker, I responded instantly to the invitation from World Development & Relief to join the 2018 Belfast City Marathon efforts to raise funds for Dabane Water Workshops in Zimbabwe. In fact, I was so keen I even volunteered my wife to join me on the walk!

I thought very little about the project until information started to come out and then began to realise the significance of it and the difference our fund raising could make .

The day itself was great fun. Loads of Methodists of different shapes, sizes and dress, from all parts of the country, some running the full marathon, others running legs (of the marathon) or the fun run, and others, like myself, did the 8-mile walk.

During the walk (which took me round parts of Belfast I'd never been before), I enjoyed catching up and chatting with long standing friends as well as making new friends. The encouragement from spectators along the route was excellent and the support kept a spring in my step. The excitement was such that we hardly noticed the time going by although I did get a lot of steps on my Fitbit that day!

There were lots of benefits - fellowship, fun, fitness, friends and fundraising. I had a brilliant day and would encourage anyone who wants to be part of making a difference to sign up, get into training and start fund raising.

I'm already excited about the 2019 event which is in support of Wenchi Methodist Hospital, Ghana. Having had two trips to Ghana I know how much this support will mean.

Tom & Sheila

Tom & Sheila


If you’d like to join us at the 2019 Belfast City Marathon, please get in touch! Register by 28th February to get the early bird rate.