Mark’s London Marathon story

January 19, 2022

had previously taken part in the London Marathon three times – in 1995, 2000 and 2005. I always said that I had one more marathon in me, but I struggled to find the time. Then my mum was diagnosed with dementia in March 2020. We’ve received some amazing support from Dementia UK, so I wanted to give something back, and I was determined to have one last crack at the London Marathon.  

Our Admiral Nurse understands what we’re going through 

Having an Admiral Nurse has made such a difference to us as a family. We have been given so much information about dementia that we wouldn’t have had otherwise. Dementia is a difficult disease to understand, especially for elderly carers, so being able to get specialist support is life-changing. My dad cares for my mum and our Admiral Nurse has been a huge support for him. 

It’s also great to have someone to talk to who understands what we are going through. Admiral Nurses support the whole family – we can share our experiences and concerns and our Admiral Nurse gives us tailored advice. It is a relief to know that our Admiral Nurse will be there for us as Mum’s condition progresses. By running the London Marathon and fundraising for Dementia UK, I hope I can help other families have the support of an Admiral Nurse.  

Mark runs in a Dementia UK running vest, running towards the cheerpoint to give a high five

My training plan was very manageable 

Having already run a few marathons, I wasn’t set on completing the distance in a certain time or achieving a personal best. I took part in a steady 16-week training plan which I found very manageable. I ran twice mid-week for 60 to 90 minutes each time, and would go for longer runs on Sundays. I increased the distance as the weeks went on. This approach fitted in with my lifestyle and it didn’t feel like a major hardship.  

Many people felt connected to the cause 

I mainly used social media to ask for donations. I have a lot of connections on LinkedIn and Facebook, and I would post after my runs to show my followers my progress. I soon became aware that a lot of the people I was connected to also had relatives with dementia so they felt an affinity with the cause and wanted to help. I have also been generous in sponsoring friends over the years so there was an element of payback!  

Mark air kisses his partner who is standing in the crowd

I felt a massive sense of achievement 

The race day was amazing and there were countless stand-out moments. I passed hundreds of bands and enjoyed the amazing noise of thunder-clapping from thousands of people. 

I decided to walk the last eight miles as my hip and back were beginning to really hurt. That was the most enjoyable part for me because I could soak up the atmosphere. The last few miles were challenging but fantastic. It was such an incredible feeling to see tens of thousands of people cheer me on right until the end. Once I passed the finish line, I felt a massive sense of achievement and pride.  

I am delighted that I was able to raise money for Dementia UK. I initially hoped to raise £5,000 but I actually managed to raise £13,440 including Gift Aid. I was over the moon with the final total.  

Join #TeamDementiaUK 

I would highly recommend taking the plunge and signing up to a challenge event for Dementia UK. At the end of day, you only regret the opportunities you don’t take. It is an amazing achievement and Dementia UK is such a worthwhile cause.  

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