Phil Verster, Managing Director of ScotRail, will pull on his running shoes this month to tackle the Virgin Money London Marathon in aid of Alzheimer’s Research UK. Phil will be joined by his wife Carol for the 26.2-mile race on Sunday 24 April, with the pair spurred on by thoughts of family members who died with dementia. The couple have already raised more than £4,000 for the UK’s leading dementia research charity, and hope to boost their total even more before they cross the finishing line.
Fitting a training schedule around the demands of Phil’s role at ScotRail has involved early starts, and sees him typically setting out for his morning run at 5am before travelling to ScotRail’s headquarters in Glasgow. At the weekends he and Carol train together, often running alongside Union Canal in Edinburgh, where they live.
“I’ve run a couple of marathons before but this will be Carol’s first marathon since she recovered from breast cancer, so this race will be extra special for us. We wanted to raise money for Alzheimer’s Research UK because we have both had grandparents affected by dementia, and that was really a traumatic experience. We both have fond associations with our grandparents and remember them for the people they were and the things they did, but to see how dementia made them unrecognisable was just tragic. That’s why we’re both determined to raise as much as we can for dementia research.
“The training is going as well as I could hope, but it’s going to be tough on the day and I’m looking forward to the finishing line. The London Marathon is great fun and it’s really superb the way the crowd gets behind you and cheers you on.”
Last month ScotRail allowed bucket collections to be held at Haymarket station in Edinburgh and Glasgow Central, with Phil and Carol among the volunteers helping with the collections.
“People were very generous with the collections and have been hugely supportive in sponsoring Carol and me – doing this has opened our eyes to the number of people who have been touched by dementia. We hope that by supporting Alzheimer’s Research UK we can help other people who may be affected in the future.”
Steve Frost, Head of Corporate Partnerships at Alzheimer’s Research UK, said:
“We’re delighted that Phil and Carol have chosen to support our pioneering research, and we’ll be wishing them the best of luck on the day of the marathon. The money they raise will be able to support crucial resources and equipment for our scientists, helping to bring new treatments, preventions and improved diagnosis a step closer.
“With nearly 67,000 people living with dementia in Scotland alone and that number set to rise, research has never been more urgent. We rely on donations to be able to fund our vital research, and it’s only thanks to the generosity and support of people like Phil and Carol that we’re able to continue our work.”
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