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A Bromley man is taking on a gruelling itinerary of sporting challenges to raise money for pioneering dementia research.

Geoff Cannell, 57, has signed up for a number of sporting events this year, with several more on his radar, and is also putting together a schedule of events for next year, all in support of Alzheimer’s Research UK.

The civil engineer’s busy schedule, which includes running, cycling, swimming and triathlon events, began in April when he ran the Virgin Money London Marathon after he gained a place through the ballot. He has completed another six events and is signed up for seven more throughout the summer.

The Bromley Veterans Athletics Club member is also taking on Alzheimer’s Research UK’s Running Down Dementia challenge. The campaign challenges people to run 100km before the end of August, but Geoff is aiming to clock up 500km.

Geoff, who is a regular at the Bromley parkrun at Norman Park, said: “I chose to support Alzheimer’s Research UK as my mother-in-law is in the advanced stages of Alzheimer’s. The charity is a partner of parkrun and I’ve gained so much from parkrun over the years, so I thought it would be good to give something back.

“My 500km challenge will follow through to the completion of my 250th parkrun which will be towards the end of next year.

“When I started asking for sponsorship I was on 162 parkruns, so I made my initial target £440, which was the number of parkrun kilometres to go to my 250th. But I’ve already raised more than £1,000 and doing the sporting events will hopefully bring in more sponsorship, so I hope to raise £3,000.”

So far, Geoff has completed:

  • Royal Parks Series 10k at Regents Park (May 6)
  • Chase the Sun Crystal Palace 10k (May 16)
  • Eaton Sprints Super Sunday Triathlon (400m swim, 21.2km bike, 5km run – May 20)
  • Royal Parks Series 10k at Hyde Park (May 27)
  • Vitality London 10,000 (May 28)
  • Medway 10k (June 3)

Next on his schedule are:

  • Two laps of the Isle of Man TT course (120km bike ride – late June)
  • Cardiff Velothon (140km bike ride – July 8)
  • 4km open water swim across Lake Bled in Slovenia (August 1)
  • London Triathlon (1,500m swim, 40km bike, 10km run – August 5)
  • London Aquathlon (400m swim and 5km run – August 18)
  • London Duathlon (10km run, 44km bike, 5km run – September 16)
  • Hever Castle Triathlon (1,500m swim, 40km bike, 10km run – September 23)

One event he already has his eye on for next year is the Coast to Coast challenge in Scotland, which involves cycling, running and kayaking 105 miles.

Through getting involved with parkrun and taking on sporting events, Geoff has made huge strides in improving his fitness and has become an England Athletics Run Leader.

He said: “A few years ago, I was in a poor state of health. Doing these sporting challenges has helped me go from having dangerously high blood pressure and cholesterol to normal levels and good fitness.

“I really enjoy doing the sporting events, they are exciting and always very friendly. I now particularly enjoying mentoring other people and helping to pace them through events.”

To sponsor Geoff go to https://runningdowndementia2018.everydayhero.com/uk/geoffrey-1

Kenneth Foreman, Senior Sporting Events Manager at Alzheimer’s Research UK, said: “Alzheimer’s Research UK is proud to be the official charity partner of parkrun UK, so we are delighted Geoff has chosen to support us.

“We are in awe of Geoff for taking on so many events and challenges to help power vital dementia research. The vital funds he raises will help us in our mission to bring an end to the fear, harm and heartbreak of dementia.”

If you are inspired to join the fightback against dementia, there is still time to sign up for Running Down Dementia where supporters are challenged to run 100km before the end of August and raise £100. Go to www.runningdowndementia.org/register

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