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Why I’m running two marathons for dementia research this year

Since 2015, I’ve worked in the Chief Investment Office at Schroder’s Personal Wealth. We’ve been supporting Alzheimer’s Research UK since 2019 and I’ve been impressed with the efforts of my colleagues fundraising during this time, even without face-to-face events.

Earlier this year, I decided to take part in two major running events later this year to raise funds for life-changing dementia research, the Brighton Marathon, and the Virgin Money London Marathon. Through our partnership, I discovered that of almost 1 million people living with dementia in the UK today, more than 42,000 are under the age of 65. I think society can often mistake dementia as just part of growing old, but that’s not the case.

Clinton page standing with medal

Sadly, I wanted to do something to help raise awareness of this and much-needed funds for life-changing dementia research after witnessing the impact of the condition on my own family. My two sisters-in-law, both in their forties, have dementia caused by a rare faulty gene. I have seen first-hand how heartbreakingly difficult this is for them individually, and for our family and friends who help with childcare and watch their loved ones change.

Dementia is now the leading cause of death. It’s the only condition in the UK’s top ten causes of death without a single prevention, treatment, or cure, but research can change this. For my family, and others like mine, I’m helping Alzheimer’s Research UK to raise funds and awareness so future generations don’t have to go through what we have.

To do my bit, I’ve set a fundraising target of £3,000. To reach this target and the finishing lines, I will need to push myself during each race and quickly recover between the two! I live in North London, so I do a lot of running on pavements, but I’ve taken part in all kinds of other training methods. You name it, I’ve done it! Fartleks, tempo runs, long runs, uphill runs, short bursts, interval interspersed rowing and swimming, and even ice baths – which are a challenge in itself! Consequently, I will need some encouragement along the way, which is where my friends, family, and colleagues come in to help keep my spirits high and cheer me on from the side-lines.
Clinton page participating in a marathon

Apart from running over 52 miles in under a month, the biggest challenge for me will be the weather. I ran the Virgin London Marathon three years ago, during what is recently known as ‘the hot year’. I’m a cold weather runner so the unexpected heat of the day threw a lot of my training plans out of the window – I was glad to finish that day! This time I want to be prepared for whatever the weather throws at me, so I’ll be training in as much heat as possible.

I’ve been a keen runner for many years, not only does it keep my body and mind fit and healthy, but it gets me outdoors, which I absolutely love. A lot of people talk about the ‘runner’s high’, but for me, this has never been as apparent as now. Like many, lockdown has been incredibly tough with busy workloads, balancing homelife and other priorities such as volunteering (I am a Trustee of a local Academic Trust) so finding the time to run has been tricky, but if there’s anything that Alzheimer’s Research UK’s recent campaign for Think Brain Health has taught me, it’s ‘what’s good for your heart is good for the head’!

My advice to anyone wanting to help find a cure for dementia would be to take on a fundraising challenge doing something you might enjoy. For me, that’s running a marathon (well, two!). But for you, it could be hiking, painting, baking…anything! Check out Alzheimer’s Research UK’s website for inspiring ideas and free fundraising packs!

 

To support Clinton’s fundraising challenge for Alzheimer’s Research UK, you can donate here: Clinton Page is fundraising for Alzheimer’s Research UK (justgiving.com)

About the author

Rachel Pountney

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