Scientist runs half marathon for dementia research


By Philip Tubby | Friday 20 January 2017

 A medicinal chemist will be pulling on his running shoes and taking on the Surrey Half Marathon this March to raise hundreds of pounds for Alzheimer’s Research UK.

Dr Stephen Wren, 45, started running when he turned 40 and has been doing marathons ever since.

Dr Stephen Wren in the lab at the Alzheimers research UK Oxford Drug Discovery Institute

Dr Stephen Wren in the lab at the Alzheimers research UK Oxford Drug Discovery Institute

While training for the Abingdon Marathon last year, Stephen was injured and had to pull out, but he has bravely signed up for the half marathon on 12 March after recovering over the last few months.

Stephen is a dementia researcher at the Alzheimer’s Research UK Oxford Drug Discovery Institute at the University of Oxford. He works to find novel ways of treating dementia by looking at the mechanisms behind the condition.

The Institute is part of the wider Drug Discovery Alliance, funded by Alzheimer’s Research UK, which also includes Drug Discovery Institutes at the University of Cambridge and University College London. The coordinated effort aims to streamline drug discovery and translate promising research into potential treatments.

Stephen, who lives in Aylesbury, Buckinghamshire, joined the Institute in June 2015. After seeing the research that Alzheimer’s Research UK funds, he was determined to raise as much money for the charity as he could.

He said:

“Dementia is an increasing problem throughout the world. It’s important to realise that dementia isn’t caused by growing old – there are scientific mechanisms behind it and, with enough research, we can beat it.

Dr Stephen Wren

Dr Stephen Wren

“My grandad had dementia and it was very sad watching him decline. This gives me extra motivation to do all I can to find a treatment for the condition. It affects so many people – not just those who are diagnosed, but also the people around them.

“Dementia research is severely underfunded compared to other major diseases, which is why I’ve decided to fundraise for Alzheimer’s Research UK by running the Surrey Half Marathon. Everyone’s been really supportive and I hope I can do them proud.”

Stephen has so far raised nearly £120 of his £300 target.

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

“We want to say a big thank you to Stephen for supporting Alzheimer’s Research UK and taking on the challenge of the Surrey Half Marathon. When 47 million people around the world are living with dementia, it’s important we do everything we can to find an effective treatment.

“The Drug Discovery Alliance is just one of the many ways that Alzheimer’s Research UK is fighting against dementia – we’re currently funding the work of over 1,000 dementia researchers across the country.”

To support Stephen, visit

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


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Philip Tubby