London Marathon runner takes on parkrun mission for dementia research

12 April 2018

A Royal Navy Police officer has set herself the challenge of running a 5km parkrun every Saturday for a year – even the day before she takes on the Virgin Money London Marathon.

Sophia Hurlo and Perry

Sophia Hurlo and Perry

Leading Regulator Sophia Hurlo, who is based at HMS Collingwood in Fareham, has taken on the challenge to raise money for Alzheimer’s Research UK in memory of her grandmother who had Alzheimer’s disease.

The 39-year-old, who lives in Southampton, hopes by asking supporters to commit to sponsoring her for just a small amount a week – 50p per parkrun – she will be able to raise a significant amount. And after winning a place in this year’s Virgin Money London Marathon she is hoping to raise even more for the UK’s leading dementia research charity.

Sophia is a regular at the Whiteley parkrun with her three-year-old whippet Perry. She is also going to run at some of the other parkruns in Hampshire as well as others around the country, including Colchester parkrun which her mum attends and a parkrun in London the day before the Virgin Money London Marathon on Sunday 22 April.

She said:

“My New Year’s resolution was to run parkrun every Saturday and I wanted to support Alzheimer’s Research UK as my nan had Alzheimer’s. She died in 2010 from cancer, but she had been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s the year before. Her final year was a real struggle. The days that she didn’t recognise her own family were the hardest. It was heartbreaking.”

Sophia is delighted to have secured a place in the Virgin Money London Marathon, which means she will be able to achieve a long-standing ambition.

She said:

“I applied for the ballot but didn’t get in. I was quite upset as I’d set myself the aim of running the London Marathon before I was 40 and this year is my last chance to do that.

“I entered a competition with Holiday Inn and mentioned my parkrun challenge in the application. I got an email saying I’d won. I was delighted but also felt a little sick as I’d have to train to run a marathon!”

Sophia Hurlo and Perry

Sophia Hurlo and Perry

To sponsor Sophia for either her parkrun challenge or the Virgin Money London Marathon go to

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

“Alzheimer’s Research UK is proud to be the official charity partner of parkrun UK, so we are delighted Sophia is raising money for us with her own challenge as well as choosing to support us after winning a place in the London Marathon.

“The vital funds raised by her and the 300 people running the London Marathon for Alzheimer’s Research UK ­– a record for the charity – will power world-class dementia research projects and help bring an end to the fear, harm and heartbreak of dementia.”

Sophia has also signed up for Alzheimer’s Research UK’s Running Down Dementia campaign. The campaign, which launched at the beginning of April and is in its third year, challenges people to run 100km before August 31 and raise £100. To sign up go to

For further information about Alzheimer’s Research UK, or to find out more about fundraising for the charity, call 0300 111 5555 or visit