For most farmers, running a marathon isn’t necessarily on the bucket list, so it might seem unusual for Air Ambulance NI’s Agribusiness Group to be promoting the Mash Direct Belfast City Marathon.

Air Ambulance NI has been appointed as sole charity for Northern Ireland’s largest event from 2023-2025 which sees participation annually of approximately 18,000 people from all over the province.

What isn’t widely known is the main marathon event which will take place on Sunday 30th April 2023 also involves an 8-Mile Walk and it’s for this event the agribusiness group are encouraging the farming and agricultural communities to get involved.

Three members from the charities Agribusiness Group swopped wellie boots for walking shoes to take part in this year’s 8-Mile Walk with friends and family and managed to raise over £5,000 for the Helicopter Emergency Medical Service (HEMS).  

Air Ambulance NI Agribusiness member Oonagh Chesney, from Portglenone was one of those and said, “I took part with my husband and two other farming families.  It’s wonderful to be able to participate in a marathon event without having to take on the full distance which just wouldn’t have been manageable for us. Training was easily managed with free walks around our rural locality and allowed the opportunity to have time together as a family.  On the day we enjoyed travelling to the city on the train, great camaraderie and atmosphere at the event as we walked, and a beautiful lunch afterwards.  The walk is perfect for many farmers to get active, enjoy time away from the farm and support a lifesaving cause.  The guys now have a new routine of meeting for a social walk and catch up and that’s a lasting benefit for physical and mental health. 

Our Agribusiness Group would like to encourage ‘rural folk to the big smoke’ and we hope that at least 100 farmers will sign up to the 2023 walk and raise funds for Air Ambualnce NI. Registration is open now at and early bird registration is available until the end of November, which is just £22.”

Kerry Anderson, Head of Fundraising at the charity said, “ When you register you will have the option to support Air Ambulance NI.  Please tick the box and we will be in touch with your digital fundraising pack and your invitation to the helicopter airbase so you can personally see the service you are challenging yourself for and supporting.  We encourage all of our participants to set up a JustGiving Page using the link to maximise fundraising for your air ambulance.  It could save a life!”

Share this post