International runner Ciara Mageean says runners will be energised with Mash Direct Belfast City Marathon boost from Lidl NI
NI Retailer confirms new partnership with iconic city event as official ‘Fresh Fruit Supplier’.
Lidl Northern Ireland has announced a brand-new partnership with Mash Direct Belfast City Marathon as its official ‘Fresh Fruit Supplier’, providing competitors with an energetic and healthy boost to power them to the finish line when the race gets underway on Sunday, 1st May.
And olympic athlete Ciara Mageean from Portaferry was also on hand to support the partnership and promote healthy eating for all athletes, amateur and professional.
Celebrating its landmark 40th anniversary this year, the Mash Direct Belfast City Marathon has grown exponentially, from just over 3,000 runners competing in its inaugural year to now welcoming more than 16,000 participants, including international competitors and spectators alike.
With a full line up of events to suit all levels of fitness including the Marathon and Wheelchair Race, Team Relay and 8 Mile Walk, the route has been revamped in recent years to take in all four corners of the city, including historical milestones, celebrating the best of Belfast. Beginning at Stormont Estate, runners will take in trails across North, South, East and West Belfast before crossing the finish line at Ormeau Park.
Lidl Northern Ireland today confirmed the fresh new partnership with Mash Direct Belfast City Marathon, delivering more than 2 tonnes of quality fruit to power runners to the finish line on race day. As ‘Official ‘Fresh Fruit Supplier’ to the event, Lidl Northern Ireland will be stationed at the start and finish line and relay changeover points throughout the course offering fresh bananas for a much-needed energy boost.
John Allen, Chairman of Belfast City Marathon, said: “We’re thrilled to partner with Lidl Northern Ireland as our fresh fruit supplier. Nutrition is hugely important for all of our competitors and there is always a big demand each year for fresh bananas to help fuel runners to the finish.
“Not only that, but we have a large team of staff and volunteers working behind the scenes to ensure a fantastic race and day out, so it’s important to keep the whole team energised.
“As the region’s fastest-growing supermarket, the partnership with Lidl Northern Ireland was a very natural fit for us. It’s great to see this ‘up and running’ and to work with a partner so engaged in supporting the local community.”
The partnership is the latest move by the retailer in support of its corporate social responsibility (CSR) strategy, ‘A Better Tomorrow’, which aims to create a better, more sustainable future for customers, communities and the world.
Phil Campbell, Supply Chain Director at Lidl Northern Ireland, said: “The Mash Direct Belfast City Marathon is the premier race in the running calendar and an iconic city event.
“I’m delighted to confirm that Lidl Northern Ireland is the Official Fresh Fruit Supplier for this flagship event and I look forward to supporting tens of thousands of competitors on race day with a nutritional boost throughout the 26.2-mile course.
“With 41 stores across Northern Ireland and more than 300,000 weekly shoppers, we pride ourselves on offering the freshest and most affordable produce on the market. We’re also heavily invested in supporting our local communities and this new partnership is just one of the many ways in which we aim to help the wider public maintain a healthy diet and active lifestyle.”
Olympic runner and Lidl Northern Ireland Sport for Good Ambassador Ciara Mageean (30) said: “As a middle distance runner myself I know only too well how important it is to have adequate fuel in your body for an endurance race like Mash Direct Belfast City Marathon. It’s also really important to pay attention to your body and recognise when you need to top up your energy levels.
“I’ve seen a lot of athletes opt for quick energy drinks and gels, but sometimes these can be high in sugar or artificial ingredients, and not always the best choice. For me, you can’t beat the natural nutrition found in fresh fruit to give you the energy you need.
“I have dedicated myself to running and now I am part of a sports’ team preparing for the Commonwealth Games in Birmingham in the summer, my third time in these games.
“I grew up playing camogie and my sports’ PE teacher at the Assumption Grammar School spotted my talent for running and I was entered into cross-country events. This led eventually to Euro and world medals, and being in the Rio and Tokyo Olympics. I’ve also represented Ireland and Northern Ireland in the Commonwealth Games and have indoor as well as outdoor medals.”
But Ciara does not do it all on her own. She is part of a sports’ team and has a coach. And diet is a key part of her preparation in any event. Top athletes must adopt a very tight regime in their lifestyle.
“Training never stops,” added Ciara. “I will be in a training camp for the Commonwealth Games very soon. Nutrition is a key part of the overall preparation. I enjoy eating fresh fruit as it’s so natural and good for you.
“I am delighted to be a Northern Ireland Sport for Good Ambassador for Lidl. The Belfast Marathon is a huge opportunity for many charities and good causes to raise vital funds and it’s great to play a part in this.
“I wish every participant the best of luck and hope the weather is perfect on the big day and that they enjoy a ‘Lidl boost’ as they make their way around the course.”
For more information on Lidl Northern Ireland’s corporate social responsibility programme A Better Tomorrow please visit:
For more information on Mash Direct Belfast City Marathon, or to enter, please visit: