Father and son conquer Hadrian’s Wall for Alzheimer’s Research UK

27 November 2017

Six years after first vowing to conquer Hadrian’s Wall, a father and son duo stepped up to the challenge and walked the length of it over five days to raise vital funds for Alzheimer’s Research UK.

Paul Mann, 48, from Walkden, Manchester, along with his 15-year-old son Rylan, trekked 84 miles – the equivalent of 135km – and raised more than £2,700 for the UK’s leading dementia research charity.

The pair did the trek as part of Alzheimer’s Research UK’s Running Down Dementia fundraiser, where people are called on to walk or run 100km over the summer, while also raising £100 for the cause. Paul’s efforts made him the second highest fundraiser for this year’s event, which saw 4,062 people sign up.

Paul, a Regional Director for Mace, wanted to push himself to tackle the challenge in one go and picked the Hadrian’s Wall walk after visiting it a few years ago with Rylan, when he was learning about the historic landmark at school.

Despite losing four toenails between them, Paul and Rylan completed the challenge in August and surpassed all Running Down Dementia targets – covering 135km and raising £2,700. Paul’s £2,700 will be added to the total raised by Mace, an international consultancy and construction company, which selected Alzheimer’s Research UK as it’s charity partner. So far, they’ve banked just under £70,000.

This was Alzheimer’s Research UK’s second ever Running Down Dementia event, which came to an end on October 31. Overall, participants clocked up 367,178km – nearly enough distance to run to the moon – and raised nearly £250,000. This will be used by Alzheimer’s Research UK to fund pioneering dementia research, to support the charity in its mission to bring about a life-changing treatment by 2025.

Paul said:

“When my son was learning about the Roman Empire at school around six years ago, we drove to Hadrian’s Wall and I was struck by the enormity of the engineering, passing from East to West across the width of the UK, in really difficult terrain. I said then that we must come back one day to walk it and that had been stuck in my head ever since. I decided this year that I wanted to do something big for charity and as Alzheimer’s Research UK is the charity partner for Mace, Running Down Dementia seemed like the perfect opportunity to tick two things off my list. The walk itself was physically and mentally challenging, but at the end the rewards were gratifying. It was an incredible experience and a good opportunity to spend quality “Lad Dad” time with Rylan away from the distraction of electronic gadgets.”

He added:

“I’ve been touched by a number of people, associates, family and friends, who have lost people to dementia or are going through difficult realities at the moment. It’s becoming more prominent in everyday life, so I’m really glad I’ve been able to help, but I feel there’s so much more we must be doing to tackle dementia.”

Felicity James, Corporate Partnerships Officer at Alzheimer’s Research UK, said:

“Well done to Paul and Rylan for not only taking on Running Down Dementia, but conquering the challenge in such a short of space of time! They definitely pushed themselves to their limits, but it was well worth it as Paul is the second highest fundraiser overall for this year’s event, which is a fantastic effort. A big thank you also to Mace where over 60 of their employees took part in Running Down Dementia and collectively ran 7,199km raising nearly £10k. Mace topped Alzheimer’s Research UK’s corporate leadership board for distance run and monies raised.”

Felicity added:

“Dementia is now the biggest killer in the UK, so it’s vital that we do everything we can to bring an end to the fear, harm and heartbreak it causes. It’s thanks to people like Paul and Rylan, along with companies like Mace, that we are able to fund the very best dementia research that will lead us to a life-changing treatment.”

Anyone interested in taking part in next year’s Running Down Dementia challenge can pre-register at www.runningdowndementia.org/register

Alzheimer’s Research UK has launched a new cycling initiative called Cycling Down Dementia challenging people to ride either 300 or 1,000 miles before the end of January and raise £150. To sign up go to www.cyclingdowndementia.org