A keen runner from Chesterfield has completed 250km over the last month and raised an impressive sum for Alzheimer’s Research UK, after his mum was diagnosed with dementia.
This feat has made Andy Morris the top fundraiser for Running Down Dementia, a challenge where participants aim to run 100km over the summer and raise £100 for dementia research. Organised by Alzheimer’s Research UK and parkrun, which offers timed 5km runs across the country every week, the challenge has had over 3,000 sign-ups so far.
Being a regular runner however, Andy wanted to make the task more difficult for himself, so pledged to run 250km and raise £2,000. He completed the challenge on Saturday, raising almost £2,500 for the UK’s leading dementia research charity.
The 53-year-old completed the challenge in just over four weeks, one of the quickest times. In order to encourage donations to the cause, he tried to make it as hard as possible, ensuring his runs were as long, hilly and muddy as he could. As an extra fundraising boost, he also did something rather unusual, as he explains:
“I’ve been a big Birmingham City fan my whole life so, to make my final run particularly hard, I was challenged to run it in an Aston Villa shirt. That was the most difficult of all my runs!”
Andy, who works as a Laboratory Manager at the National Physical Laboratory in Huddersfield, runs regularly and is a Run Director at Poolsbrook parkrun. Before its foundation, he also did more than 90 runs at Graves parkrun.
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 79, she has problems with her memory and experiences confusion and restlessness.
Andy’s stepfather-in-law, Tony Shanley, was diagnosed around the same time with mixed dementia – a combination of vascular dementia and Alzheimer’s disease. Andy said:
“Dementia is a terrible condition where you slowly witness someone losing their memories and personality – it’s like they are drifting away from you and becoming harder and harder to recognise. Despite this, my mum is still a wonderful person with the best smile in the world.
“I’ve got used to her not recognising me as her son now, but she’s changing rapidly. Research is the most important thing now. It may be too late for Mum and Tony but it’s about helping people in the future”
Now that Andy’s reached his goal, he’ll be taking a well-deserved week off before he puts his running shoes back on.
Kenneth Foreman, Sporting Events Manager at Alzheimer’s Research UK, said:
“We can’t thank Andy enough for his support. It’s amazing to see how many people are taking on Running Down Dementia. The money raised will help power world class studies into dementia research so that we can one day beat this awful condition.”
To sign up for Running Down Dementia and for more information, go to:https://www.runningdowndementia.org/
To support Andy, visit: https://running-down-dementia.everydayhero.com/uk/andy-4
For further information about Alzheimer’s Research UK, or to find out more about fundraising for the charity, call 0300 111 5555 or visithttps://www.alzheimersresearchuk.org/