Devon woman runs 1,000 miles in ‘Fit at 50’ challenge for dementia research

23 January 2018

A Devon woman is celebrating this January after she completed a 1,000 mile ‘Fit at 50’ running challenge in 2017, and raised £4,000 for Alzheimer’s Research UK in the process.

Caroline Savage

After taking up running in 2016, Caroline Savage decided to set herself a challenge for 2017: to run 500 miles during the year and to get fit during her fiftieth year.

However, by the summer of 2017, she had already run the 500 miles, which prompted her to double the length of her challenge. In the following six months, she ran another 500 miles, bringing her total to 1,000 by the end of the year.

The 50-year-old, who is from Georgeham, finished her challenge on Boxing Day 2017 and saw her fundraising total hit £4,000 to power life-changing dementia research.

After experiencing the breakdown of her marriage, Caroline decided to make her fiftieth year her best yet. Her 1,000 mile challenge allowed her to focus on her own health and fitness, while also helping to raise money to help those living with dementia.

She said:

“For the most part, my motivation was strong to finish the challenge. The only time I really felt that I needed to get to the end was in the last 100 miles. Up until then, I was full of confidence and the challenge was going great.

“But by the beginning of December, I still had 100 miles to go, and I thought they would be the easiest miles of the whole thing, but actually they were the hardest. I was just so tired, and it was the lead-up to Christmas, so everything was really busy.

“But by the time I reached the last 20 miles, I thought, ‘wow, I’m actually doing this. I’m going to finish it.’”

Caroline, who will be running the London Marathon for Alzheimer’s Research UK this year, would highly recommend running to those interested in taking up a new sport for 2018.

She said:

“There is a huge health benefit. My weight dropped, my confidence soared. The friendship side of it has been amazing. You meet so many people who are doing great things.”

2018 may be the perfect time to get into running as Alzheimer’s Research UK prepares to re-launch Running Down Dementia, an initiative that encourages runners of all levels to run 100 kilometres and raise £100 for the charity.

It is the same initiative that got Caroline into running when she took part in 2016.

Those interested can register their interest now for 2018 at www.runningdowndementia.org

Caroline’s advice for successfully getting into running is to make your challenge “as public as possible.”

She said:

“If you have a Facebook page and have to post updates and raise money for charity, it makes it harder to fail. It spurs you on to keep going because you don’t want to let your supporters down.”

Caroline works with people with dementia in her role as a community carer, which is why she wanted to raise money for Alzheimer’s Research UK.

She said:

Kenneth Foreman, Senior Sporting Events Manager with Alzheimer’s Research UK said:

“Caroline has blown us all away by running 1,000 miles last year and raising so much money for dementia research. Her challenge proves that anybody can take up running and get fit.

“The funds raised by Caroline will help fund world-class dementia research. Dementia is now the leading cause of death in the UK, and despite this, there are still no treatments that can slow or prevent the condition from developing.

“Our vision is of a world that is free from the fear, harm and heartbreak of dementia. We can only achieve this through research.”