Teachers and friends of Gaelscoil na bhFál are set to run in the Belfast Marathon to raise vital funds for the school.

Alongside others from the wider school community, the teachers will run either the relay, half marathon or the entire 26.2 mile course this Sunday.

Meanwhile, pupils are being encouraged to walk, run or cycle to school between 9-13 May to help with the school's fundraising efforts. 

Commenting on the initiative, Vice-Principal Seán Fennell, who is taking on the full marathon, said: "I do a wee bit of running myself since my football days are over and with school budget cuts and the way things are going schools need every single penny. 

"Last year we did a run, cycle, walk to school week and we succeeded beyond our wildest dreams and we collected a lot of money for the school. The funds can include money for art equipment for an art club, new sliotars or footballs, paying a bus to bring children on a trip – all of those kinds of things. We decided to go for it again this year."


Seán spoke to the importance of involving pupils in the fundraising efforts.

"When I was at school you were always sent round with a sponsorship form for something, and I think sometimes children sometimes think things fall from the sky," he said.

"This explains to them that that isn't the case. You can even talk to them about the situation in Ukraine, or the price of food, petrol, diesel and gas, and the children also know that there are cuts. They can then see where their £10 or £20 went and how much of a difference that can make. 

"Our P7 class are getting ready for the Gaeltacht and they had a cake sale which collected £500, so children can see the value of their money and it's giving them good life skills, because it helps them understand and be grateful for what they've got too."

The challenge will also encourage kids to get active and stay healthy. 

"Some children can't run to school because they live too far away, but the school will be doing activities in school hours to encourage them, especially when we have great weather like this," Seán explained.

"We have all different activities to encourage the children to get outdoors and be active."

With the children rearing to go readers might ask, are the teachers ready for the challenge?

"We'll definitely finish it, but what time we get is another story," Seán smiled. 

"When the children see teachers doing things it does encourage them because we are the role models they have for the vast majority of the day, so it is important that we try to inculcate good habits."

To donate to Gaelscoil na bhFál's fundraising efforts click here.