Participants in Alzheimer’s Research UK’s Running Down Dementia campaign went the distance to the Moon and raised £247,000 for vital dementia research.
It is the second year the charity has run the award-winning initiative where people are challenged to run or walk 100km between May and the end of October and raise £100. Many people run further and raise more money as they compete for places on the leaderboards.
There were 4,062 sign-ups this year. They clocked up 367,178km – more than nine times the circumference of the Earth and almost the distance to the Moon. The total raised is a £27,000 increase on last year.
Among those who took part was Rachel Bishop, from West Sussex, who was inspired by her mum who has Alzheimer’s disease. Rachel ran 1,000km, with her nine-year-old daughter Zara also clocking up 100km. The duo raised nearly £1,500.
Rachel said: “Dementia and running are two massive things in my life. When I saw the campaign I just knew I had to take part.
“Running has saved me, it’s helped me cope and it’s so central to my life. For Zara, who has seen her nanny crying and all the negative parts of Alzheimer’s disease, she was finally able to do something to really help and do something she’s proud of. Whenever she got any sponsorship through she was just so thrilled every time.”
Caroline Savage, from North Devon, took part in the campaign for the second year and has gone from a novice runner in 2016 to running more than 850km this year. She loves the support she has received from the community of runners on the Running Down Dementia Facebook page.
She said: “I absolutely love Running Down Dementia. The online community has people from all walks of life and all abilities. Everybody encourages everybody else and the campaign helped my confidence, my fitness, helped me lose weight, it gave me a feel-good factor, it was fun, and the friendships that were built online were fantastic. We’re all still friends now.”
John Elrick, from Aberdeen, finished top of the distance leaderboard with 2,660km and has loved the experience.
He said: “Running Down Dementia is great. It cost me nothing to take part. It’s a very worthwhile cause, anything we can do to help cure dementia has to be a good thing.”
Kenneth Foreman, the Senior Sporting Events Manager at Alzheimer’s Research UK, said: “After a brilliant first year, we are delighted that Running Down Dementia has once again been a huge success.
“We are so thankful to each and every runner who took part for their amazing effort and dedication. The vital funds raised will power world-class dementia research projects helping to shape our understanding of the condition and open the door to new treatments.”
Anyone interested in taking part in next year’s Running Down Dementia challenge can pre-register at www.runningdowndementia.org/register
Alzheimer’s Research UK has launched a new cycling initiative called Cycling Down Dementia challenging people to ride either 300 or 1,000 miles before the end of January and raise £150. To sign up go to www.cyclingdowndementia.org
For further information about Alzheimer’s Research UK, or to find out more about fundraising for the charity, call 0300 111 5555 or visit www.alzheimersresearchuk.org