Belfast Marathon winner urges people to take part in Christian Aid’s 70k in May

A recent winner of the Belfast Marathon is helping to tackle extreme poverty overseas by urging people to take part in a challenge event organised by international aid agency, Christian Aid Ireland.

Gladys Ganiel (47) is raising awareness of Christian Aid’s 70k in May, a sponsored fitness challenge in which members of the public sign up to cover a distance of 70 kms throughout the month of May, by walking, running, cycling or swimming.

In 2022, Gladys was the winner of the Belfast City Marathon women’s race with a time of 2:43:47. A year later, she was the runner-up, despite crossing the finish line with an improved time of 2:41:22. Gladys will have ran this year’s Belfast Marathon once again, which took place last Sunday 5 May.

Christian Aid’s 70k in May challenge is a new initiative for Christian Aid Week, which began in the 1950s and is the UK’s longest-running fundraising campaign. Each year, tens of thousands of people across the UK get involved in raising funds to support the charity’s work to reach people living in poverty and crisis.
Originally from Maine in the USA, Gladys lives in Belfast where she works as a professor of sociology at Queen’s University and trains with North Belfast Harriers. She represented Northern Ireland in the marathon at the 2014 Commonwealth Games, and represented Ireland at the 2016 and 2018 European Championships.

Gladys explained why she is helping to promote Christian Aid’s 70k in May challenge. She said:
“Christian Aid has a long history of addressing global poverty, helping to transform people’s lives. While it often feels like there’s little we can do on a personal level, Christian Aid’s 70k in May is a good way to raise awareness of the continued injustice of poverty. 70k is an achievable goal for folks who already run or who may be motivated by this campaign to take on a running, walking, cycling or swimming challenge for the first time.”

Christian Aid Ireland Chief Executive Rosamond Bennett thanked Gladys for her support for the charity’s 70k in May initiative. She said:
“We’re thrilled that an elite athlete and local hero such as Gladys is helping promote our 70k in May challenge. Of course, most of us can only marvel at her finish times but almost everyone can improve their fitness by taking part in our 70k in May challenge, while raising funds to help some of the world’s poorest people.”

You can sign up to complete your own 70k in May by visiting

Belfast Marathon winner urges people to take part in Christian Aid's 70k in May