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Press release

Grant Thornton Runway Run to return to Belfast City Airport

After the phenomenal success of 2015’s inaugural Grant Thornton Runway Run in Northern Ireland, the business advisory firm has announced the return of the event for 2016. 

500 runners from local businesses across Northern Ireland are invited to take to the runway of George Best Belfast City Airport for a 5k team race at 11pm on Thursday 23 June.

Richard Gillan, Managing Partner at Grant Thornton (NI) LLP said: “We were overwhelmed by the response to last year’s event and are delighted to announce its return in 2016. It is a unique event within Northern Ireland’s business networking calendar. At Grant Thornton we like to do things differently and the Runway Run was developed to encourage friendly competition whilst promoting team building amongst the local business community. And it did that.

The atmosphere on the night was incredible; the right balance of fun and competition. It was representative of the Northern Ireland business community with teams entering from an broad range of industries – from legal, banking and recruitment firms to aviation and manufacturing companies. It was a fantastic event and this year’s will be even better with some small tweaks, and maybe even some surprises along the way. If you missed out last year I would recommend pulling a team of colleagues together and signing up!”

The race, which is organised by Athletics NI, is open to all businesses and organisations in Northern Ireland who are invited to enter a team of four in one or more of three categories – male, female and mixed. Prizes will be awarded in each category with team members’ finishing times combined to determine the winner. Grant Thornton has selected The Mary Peters Trust as its charity partner for the 2016 Runway Run.

Mr Gillan continued: “We are delighted to not only have The Mary Peters Trust on board but also Dame Mary herself who will start the race. Corporate Responsibility is a high priority at Grant Thornton, not just in Northern Ireland but across over 130 countries it operates in globally, and we felt it was extremely important to once again partner with a charity which can benefit from the event. We decided The Mary Peters Trust was the perfect choice given the fact it is a local charity supporting the professional development of young athletes.”

Dame Mary is currently on a mission to raise £1 million to secure the safeguard of the charity. The Grant Thornton Runway Run will contribute to ‘Mary’s Race to a Million’.

She said: “It is becoming more and more expensive for young athletes to invest in necessary equipment and to travel to competitions in order to progress to a professional level. The Trust was established to provide financial support to these athletes and therefore provide a platform for them to compete professionally and achieve their full potential. Over the last forty years, we have supported the journey of hundreds of athletes who have gone on to have very successful sporting careers, from Paddy Barnes to Katie Kirk.

I have seen the important role sport can play in people’s lives and I thoroughly commend Grant Thornton for establishing an event which not only brings together local businesses to develop relationships but also one which encourages a healthy, active lifestyle. I’m thrilled to be involved and very grateful the firm has selected The Mary Peters Trust as its charity partner. The support is very much appreciated as I embark on my mission to raise £1 million to safeguard the future of the Trust and the ongoing support of the future sporting generation.”

All updates will also be posted on Grant Thornton’s Twitter account - @GrantThorntonNI – and under #GTRunwayRun.