Saturday, 2 March 2024
Saturday, 2 March 2024

Karate instructor with Muscular Dystrophy on charity running mission

MARTIN Stockley, 47, will be one of the thousands of people taking part in the historic Bidwells Cambridge Town and Gown 10k event, on Sunday 15 October, as it returns to the city for the twelfth year.

Martin, originally from Stroud, Gloucestershire, has lived in Cambridge for over 15 years, and will take on the streets of Cambridge, all in support of Muscular Dystrophy UK (MDUK) to raise awareness and much-needed funds for the charity. MDUK funds research into treatments for rare, life-limiting muscle-wasting and weakening conditions and supports the 110,000 children and adults across the UK living with these conditions.

Martin was diagnosed with Facioscapuloperoneal muscular dystrophy (FSHD) in 2007, aged 30. The condition affects his mother, Christine, 76, who was diagnosed in her mid-fifties and has had a gradual decline in her stability ever since. Along with his younger siblings Amanda, 40, and David, 37.

Martin works as a medicinal chemist at Cambridge-based biotech company Artios Pharma Ltd, developing novel treatments for cancer. In his spare time, he practices karate and as a fifth dan black belt, he runs a club in Cambridge, with his wife Louise. Martin will be swapping his karate kit for running gear, as he prepares to take on his first Bidwells Cambridge Town and Gown race.

Aiming for a personal best. He said:

“An organised 10k event on my doorstep was hard to resist. It’s a unique opportunity to take part in Bidwells Cambridge Town and Gown and to support Muscular Dystrophy UK, which is of great personal interest.

“The condition has really affected my mum’s ability to walk and her quality of life. She has pronounced foot drop, difficulty lifting her legs, and with weakened core muscles her balance is also poor. Perhaps exacerbated but other aspects of her age, she also has trouble keeping her head up, which combined with her weakened lower body, makes walking very difficult. She is a very determined person though, and insists on going for a daily walk, with her mobility walker, to help delay further decline.

“That’s why I’m keen to stay as active as I can, for as long as I can – I’m determined to complete the race in a good time, for such a worthy cause.”

The Bidwells Cambridge Town and Gown event will be going carbon neutral for the first time thanks to the title sponsor Bidwells, the largest property consultancy in the region. The magnificent closed-road city centre route takes in the sights of the city and the River Cam, with thousands of runners expected to complete the 10k course, along with the Junior 3k course for children aged between 9-15 years old.

The Town and Gown series started in Oxford in 1982 inspired by a local boy, Daniel Cleaver, who had muscular dystrophy. His father Mike and local runners set up the event as a fun run to raise funds for Muscular Dystrophy UK, and still to this day all profits from the events go to the charity.

Collectively, it’s raised more than £3 million and every 10k makes a difference, so please sign up for your place today: townandgown10k.com.

Avinash Bhogun, Muscular Dystrophy UK’s Town and Gown Series Events Manager said:

“We are grateful to Martin for choosing to raise funds and awareness on behalf of Muscular Dystrophy UK, which will help us continue supporting and improving the lives of thousands of people living with rare muscle wasting and weakening conditions, like Martin and his family.

“We wish Martin and all our other Bidwells Cambridge Town and Gown runners the very best of luck with this challenge – and we’ll be supporting every step of the way.”

To support Martin please visit his online fundraising page and donate: musculardystrophyuk.org/MartinTown&Gown.

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