Marathon mum warns charities will suffer if it's end of road for race
A Belfast Marathon runner who raised almost £2,000 for charity through her efforts says local organisations could be left counting the cost if the race was to end.
Fiona Dickson (51) took on the 26.2-mile challenge on Monday with the aim of raising £200 for Lupus UK - over the past seven years her daughter Alex's life has been changed dramatically by the disease.
But after the Belfast Telegraph featured Fiona's efforts last month the amount the Moira mum managed to raise rocketed to close to £2,000.
"It was my very first marathon and I did it in just under four hours and 11 minutes," she said.
"The first 16 miles were easy enough, but the last six miles were tough. The only thing that kept me going was the fact that I had raised so much on my JustGiving page for Lupus UK.
"The support I received is directly related to the article in the Belfast Telegraph. That raised the profile of my run, the disease and the charity.
"But none of this would have happened without the marathon itself.
"Alex had a health scare two weeks ago and during the last, very tough two miles I kept reminding myself that I was running for her and a cure. I know the majority of people would have been running for their personal causes as well.
"Let's hope my fundraising goes a little bit towards doing some good. My marathon is over. Alex's marathon continues. Let's hope that the Belfast Marathon continues to receive the funding and PSNI support it needs.
"There was so much goodwill at the event, it would be such a shame if it ended and so many charities would be losing out on so much much-needed funding."
It comes after the marathon's organising committee chairman David Seaton said they had been told that in future they may have to pay for policing - which he said would kill off the event.
The PSNI said it has been working alongside the marathon organisers, but the reality of financial pressures means police resources must be directed towards the areas of greatest need. Politicians have agreed to have a look at the issue.
Alex (21) has suffered from Lupus, which can attack joints, the skin, the kidneys, blood cells, the lungs, even the brain and the heart, since she started complaining of swollen joints in her hands and ankles as a 14-year old schoolgirl at Hunterhouse College in Belfast.
Fiona added: "My sense of achievement is huge and to the Belfast Telegraph, the Belfast Marathon organisers, and all the wonderful people who supported me and so many others in their effort, Alex and I say cheers."