A massive good luck to all of you who are taking on the Virgin Money London Marathon on Sunday!
With the Dementia Revolution, the partnership of Alzheimer’s Research UK and Alzheimer’s Society, as the official charity campaign for this year’s event, it’s going to be a very special day.
There will be nearly 2,000 runners pounding the streets of London in their distinctive blue and pink Dementia Revolution tops – the largest ever team running in support of dementia research. And there will be hundreds of volunteers cheering them on at 10 cheer points along the route.
Whether you’re in London or watching on TV, you won’t be able to miss us!
Among the runners will be two inspirational people who are living with dementia – Malcolm Brookes and Harry Cullen.
Malcolm is a very experienced long-distance runner who became the oldest person to join the ‘100 Marathon Club’ when he reached the landmark in 2015 aged 74.
Six months later he was diagnosed with vascular dementia, but that hasn’t put a stop to his running and Sunday will be his 131st 26.2-miler.
The 78-year-old, from Hereford, said: “When I got a diagnosis it was actually a reassurance. I was ill, but I didn’t know why. So to be told I had a specific condition was a real relief. It meant I knew what I was dealing with, rather than being uncertain.
“My dementia has definitely slowed me down. My memory is not as good as it was. But I cope with it by having a laugh at myself – if I’m struggling to find a word, I just make up my own one!
“My consultant told me to carry on running to help manage my symptoms, so I am determined to keep active.
“I hope the Dementia Revolution helps people understand what dementia is really about. When I was diagnosed I was unsure how people would treat me. There are still a lot of myths and misconceptions and we desperately need to overthrow these old attitudes.
“My dementia does not define me, it does not define the person that I am. In all the marathons I have run I have never, ever hit the wall and I will carry on running for as long as I’m able.”
You can sponsor Malcolm here.
Harry struggled with depression after being diagnosed with early-onset Alzheimer’s disease but says running has helped him to regain control.
The 63-year-old, from Sale, said: “When I first found out about my dementia diagnosis, I found it really difficult to accept. I was fit and healthy and so I didn’t see it coming.
“I kept thinking, “why me?” I felt like I was in a vacuum of not knowing where to go, or who to go to for help. My life changed unexpectedly and it was a lot to deal with.
“But running gave me a purpose, and it’s really helped me to focus. It’s taken a long time, but it’s helped me feel like I’m coming out the other side and that there’s nothing stopping me.
“I’ll be running the marathon with a guide runner, Leanne. She has helped to keep me motivated through training and it’s been great to have made a new friend who loves running. This is the first year that guide runners will receive a medal, so it’ll be an important day for her too.”
You can sponsor Harry here.
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