Lincolnshire dad’s marathon challenge for Alzheimer’s Research UK

Lincolnshire dad-of-two Darren Austin is running his second Virgin Money London Marathon in a row to boost funds for Alzheimer’s Research UK.

Posted on 21st March 2014

A Lincolnshire dad-of-two will run his second Virgin Money London Marathon in a row to boost funds for Alzheimer’s Research UK on Sunday 13 April. Darren Austin, an area manager with Iceland Foods, raised £1,500 for the UK’s leading dementia research charity in 2013. And despite saying he would never enter the gruelling 26.2-mile race across the capital again, the 34 year old, from Witham St Hughs, has signed up for a second time. This year Darren will be running alongside fellow Iceland employee Les Carder, from Cheshire. Between them they hope to raise £4,000 towards pioneering dementia research.

Darren, whose wife Rachel gave birth to their second child, Casie, in September, explained his reasons for running the iconic marathon for a second time to support Alzheimer’s Research UK:

“When I crossed the finish line last year I swore I was never going to do it again. I struggled through the race after picking up a knee injury around the half-way point and if it wasn’t for my family cheering me on at the 19-mile mark I don’t know if I’d have made it. But after I’d recovered I realised I was making a real difference and that’s what drove me to sign up again.

“Training’s going well and I’ll soon be ramping up my distances. The weather’s much milder than last year when we had all that snow. My wife’s been extremely supportive and taken on so much since Casie’s arrival to give me time to train. Last year my eldest, Leo-Beck, thought I was taking part in the Olympics! But now he’s six he understands a lot more about what I’m doing.”

Darren added:

“Over the past year I’ve noticed Alzheimer’s starting to make the headlines more, which is fantastic, but research is still desperately underfunded and it’s a disease which affects so many people. I have to be honest, I didn’t know much about the illness until Iceland started raising funds for Alzheimer’s Research UK – that’s when I realised what a difference just a small amount of money can make.”

The Iceland Foods Charitable Foundation began supporting Alzheimer’s Research UK in 2011. Over the last three years, the Foundation has raised over £3 million for vital research into Alzheimer’s disease.

Jodie Vaughan, Community Fundraising Manager at Alzheimer’s Research UK, said:

“We couldn’t be more grateful to Darren for taking on his second Virgin Money London Marathon for Alzheimer’s Research UK and we wish him and Les every success on the day. Last year our fantastic London Marathon runners raised an incredible £113,500, enough to fund almost four complete pilot projects. Every £20 Darren and Les raise is enough to pay for another hour of pioneering research, bringing us closer to finding ways to diagnose, prevent, treat and cure Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia.

“There are hundreds of thousands of people across the UK living with dementia today, including over 9,500 people in Lincolnshire. Dementia poses one of the greatest threats to public health now and in the future. Research is the only answer but funding still lags far behind other serious diseases. We rely on wonderful supporters like Darren and Les to fund our world-class research.”

To help Darren and Les raise money for Alzheimer’s Research UK’s groundbreaking dementia research, donate online at www.justgiving.com/darrenandles. 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

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