A parkrun every Saturday is great, but how about running 5k every day?
That’s a challenge Princes parkrunner Graham Holland took on last year to raise money for Alzheimer’s Research UK in honour of his mum who has dementia.
In the end he managed to run 5k or further every day in 2019 apart from a week of walking to recover from ankle and groin injuries picked up running his first marathon in May and a week’s rest in September due to a back injury.
The 50-year-old completed an incredible 2,448km – that’s the distance from Liverpool to Moscow! And he raised over £2,500 for pioneering dementia research.
He said: “My mum was diagnosed with dementia three years ago. Since then it’s been a gradual decline, although it seems to have picked up speed in the last few months. Her memory is disappearing, and it is taking such an emotional toll on the family.
“I wanted to take on a challenge to support research as I want to ensure future generations don’t have to experience dementia. I’ve got two nieces and two nephews, and I have hope that dementia will be something they won’t have to worry about when they are older.
“I’ve just been overwhelmed by the generosity of people over the year. I’ve had some anonymous donations, including one for £250, and I have no idea who they are from.”
Graham, who is an e-learning support officer for the University of Manchester Library, clocked up the kilometres at numerous places across the UK, as well as running in Ireland and the United States.
He ran four 10km races, his first half marathon and first marathon, as well as 53 parkruns, including a New Year’s Day double and a Christmas Day parkrun. He enjoyed a lot of parkrun tourism, running at 41 different events.
He said: “The challenge gave me a chance to run in some really cool places. One of the highlights was spending five days in Ireland and running along the west coast, which is breathtakingly beautiful.
“It also had its difficulties, particularly with the injuries. I discovered that running every day is actually not good for training for a marathon as you don’t get the rest days you need.
“Then there were those winter mornings when the alarm clock goes off at 5.15am, its pitch-black outside and you hear the wind and rain and you know you have to go out as it’s the only time you will have to run that day.
“But it’s been an incredible experience and I’ve learnt that you can do amazing things if you put your mind to it.”
You can sponsor Graham here.
And if his efforts have inspired you, then visit our website for information about taking on your own challenge to support dementia research. You can order a free fundraising pack, which is filled with tips and ideas to help you get started.
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