Actor living with Down’s syndrome set to take on Chariots of Fire

24 May 2017

Actor Russell Ramsey will be swapping the limelight for the glory of taking part in Chariots of Fire this September to raise money for Alzheimer’s Research UK.

The 35-year-old is no stranger to taking on new challenges having played parts in hit TV shows Extras, alongside Ricky Gervais and Daniel Radcliffe, and Never Better with Stephen Mangan. But this time, he’s pulling on his running shoes to join a team representing the Defeat Dementia in Downs Syndrome study that is funded by Alzheimer’s Research UK, this year’s Chariots of Fire official charity.

Russell Ramsey

Alzheimer’s disease is more common in people with Down’s syndrome than the wider population. More than 50% of those living with Down’s syndrome in the UK go on to develop Alzheimer’s in their 50s.

The researchers completing the pioneering study at the University of Cambridge hope their findings will contribute to a better understanding of Alzheimer’s across the wider population, not just in those living with Down’s syndrome.

Russell, who was the first person to sign up to the study, said:

“I have two family members who have Alzheimer’s and it is so sad. I wanted to help with this study to help people with Alzheimer’s in the future. People who have Down’s syndrome like me and other people.”

He already has a head start on his training for Chariots of Fire as he’s a regular at the gym each week. He also loves running, which means he’ll enjoy every minute of the 1.7miles he needs run to complete his leg of the charity relay race.

Russell added:

“I like running – I did the Sawston Fun Run last year and am looking forward to taking part in Chariots of Fire.”

As part of the study, which is collecting data from participants over the next few years, Russell is having brain scans and tests at the Cambridge Biomedical Campus and at his home.

David Reynolds, Chief Scientific Officer at Alzheimer’s Research UK, said:

“It is brilliant to have the support of Russell, not only in the study but also in Chariots of Fire.

“We will be pulling together our own Chariots of Fire team at Alzheimer’s Research UK and so will be coming out in force on Sunday 17 September, making this a memorable year for dementia research in Cambridge.”

Chariots of Fire is organised by Hewitsons Charitable Trust, the charity established and supported by Solicitors Hewitsons LLP, and backed by the Cambridge News.

The renowned relay race sees local teams, organisations, and colleges enter to claim the crowning glory of Chariots of Fire while raising money for a worthy charity.

According to Hewitsons Charitable Trust: “Alzheimer’s Research UK and dementia is prominent in the news and the public domain at present and we are delighted to support them and are proud to have entered five teams this year and have already pledged to raise money for this important research project. We would urge any person looking to support this cause to enter a team by visiting

The race starts and finishes on Queens’ Green. Team registrations close on Wednesday 13 September at 5pm unless all 400 teams have registered before that date.

To enter a team, visit or to find out more about Alzheimer’s Research UK and their research please visit