parkrun champion takes on Running Down Dementia, smashing fundraising goal for a second year

24 July 2017

parkrunner Andy Morris is setting the bar high for a second year running in Alzheimer’s Research UK’s Running Down Dementia challenge.

The 54-year-old from Chesterfield knows only too well how distressing dementia can be for the families of those living with the condition as his own mum, Peggy Morris, is living with vascular dementia.

Andy, who is a parkrun champion for dementia, ran 250km and raised more than £3,200 taking him to the top of the fundraising board when he took on Running Down Dementia last year. This year he aims to run 500km and aimed to raise £500. He has smashed his fundraising target already and is only halfway through his 500km goal.

Andy Morris

Running Down Dementia is a virtual running challenge in which you can sign up to run 100km and raise £100. Organised by Alzheimer’s Research UK and parkrun, which offers timed 5km runs across the country every week, the challenge has had over 3,100 sign-ups so far.

Andy, who is also Run Director at Poolsbrook parkrun, said:

“It has been a tough challenge this year due to some ill health and a couple of injuries, but the cause is so great that the will to continue has been strong. I cannot think of a better cause to support, especially given the effect that dementia has had on my family and friends, and the potential it has to change so many people’s lives in the future. Given these factors – running up tricky hilly trails becomes easier knowing that every km I run raises more money for such a worthy cause.”

To add an extra twist to his 2016 challenge Andy asked friends and family to give him tasks to do including wearing someone’s favourite football shirt while out running and has opted to do the same this year.

He said:

“Asking people to contribute for a second year seems hard, but when you consider how many people are affected by dementia – how could I not ask again?

“I wanted to give people something back for their fundraising so I’ve offered to take on challenges like I did last year. The hardest challenge I had last year was wearing an Aston Villa shirt as I’m a big Birmingham City fan but it’s all in the name of a good cause!”

The laboratory manager has been slightly hampered by injury but is now back on track with his running and hopes to bring in more funds before he reaches 500km.

He was inspired to take on Running Down Dementia by his family, which has been touched by the condition. His mum, Peggy Morris, was diagnosed with vascular dementia a few years ago. Now 80, she has problems with her memory and experiences confusion and restlessness.

Andy said:

“Dementia affects so many people – not only those living with the condition but also their families and carers so many of us will either be affected by it or know someone who is.

“It is a life changing thing for all who are involved and can lead to social isolation for carers along with a great deal of stress often leading to ill health. I, for one, cannot accept this situation and am determined to do what I can to help prevent this by raising funds for earlier diagnosis and drug discovery. It’s too late for my mum, but hopefully I can help the generations that follow.”

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

“We are so pleased to see Andy taking on Running Down Dementia again this year after raising so much money for dementia research last year.

“The way in which he has used his own experience to make a difference and raise awareness is inspirational and we can’t thank him enough for his ongoing support of our work and his commitment to raising the profile of dementia within parkrun as one of their dementia champions.”

To sign up for Running Down Dementia and for more information, go to: www.runningdowndementia.org

To support Andy, visit: https://runningdowndementia2017.everydayhero.com/uk/andy

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