Self-confessed ‘couch potato’ to run marathon for leading dementia charity

04 April 2017

After going from being a couch potato to an avid long-distance runner, a store manager at Wickes in Chorley is preparing for his biggest challenge yet – the Virgin Money London Marathon.

On Sunday 23 April, 47-year-old Mark Swindlehurst will be heading to the capital to take part in the annual 26-mile race to raise much-needed funds for Alzheimer’s Research UK.

The father-of-five is hoping his efforts will raise at least £5,000 for the UK’s leading dementia research charity, which powers world-class research into the condition and the diseases that cause it. To help boost his fundraising total, Mark is hosting a charity evening at The Global Arena, in Morecambe, on Sunday 9 April. On the night, which will run from 7pm-11pm, there will be a quiz and live entertainment. Entry is £5 for adults and free for children.

This isn’t the first time Mark, who lives in Heysham, near Morecambe, has put on his running shoes for Alzheimer’s Research UK. Throughout November, Mark and his colleague Colin Contini ran the equivalent of 10 marathons between them and raised an incredible £18,000. He first got the bug for running in January 2015, when he took part in a race for a local hospice – and he hasn’t looked back. Since then, he has entered countless challenges, but this will be his biggest race yet.

All the funds donated to Mark will be added to the total raised by Wickes, as the company has been supporting Alzheimer’s Research UK since the middle of last year and has already banked an incredible £400,000.

Mark said:

“It’s hard to believe that two years ago I was a couch potato and now I’m getting ready to run the London Marathon! I’m really excited for the day, particularly the atmosphere and the crowds. I’ve done quite a few challenges over the past couple of years, but this will be my longest race yet. I’ve set myself a target of completing the race in under six hours, to make sure I get a medal!

Speaking about his reason for entering, he added: “I’ve been inspired by Alzheimer’s Research UK since they became Wickes’ charity partner. In that time, I’ve found out so much more about the condition and it’s frightening to know how prevalent it is. But it doesn’t just affect the person with dementia, it’s also impacts the people around them, who see the person they love disappear in front of them. It must be horrible, so I want to do as much as possible to raise awareness and funds for this vital cause.”

Jade Rolph, Corporate Partnerships Account Manager at Alzheimer’s Research UK, said:

“Everyone at Alzheimer’s Research UK wishes Mark the best of luck for the marathon and we are incredibly grateful for his continued support. Mark has already put himself through one gruelling fundraiser for our cause, so we are over the moon that he has chosen to take part in the Virgin Money London Marathon for us too.

“It’s thanks to supporters like Mark and partnerships with companies like Wickes, that we are able to fund world-class research into dementia and the diseases that cause this heartbreaking condition. There are 850,000 people living in the UK with dementia and it is our mission to defeat it.”

To find out more about the charity evening, please call Mark on 07904 947095. To sponsor Mark, visit his fundraising page.