The Inspiration for the Challenge

My Grandma, who suffers from Alzheimer’s, the most common form of dementia, turned 80 on 14th July this year and I have been thinking of ways in which I can raise money for dementia research and increase awareness. This inspired me to complete 80 half marathons in eight months, building up to the 2019 London Marathon.

Sean McGibney
Me and my Grandma in late 2016

I love running and recognise the positive impact it has on my own mental health, so I was also delighted to learn of stories such as Sue’s which show that exercise can also be used to stay positive and manage symptoms of dementia.

I want to use the challenge as a method to improve my own understanding of dementia, the impact it has on relatives and friends, as well as to share the stories of people I meet along the way.

Expectations

  • I hope to meet lots of interesting people, as well as to increase awareness of dementia and raise money for some much-needed (and currently under-funded) research. I will be running all through winter, so I am expecting some cold runs, but as the saying goes… “winter miles lead to summer smiles!”.
  • Half way into my training, I will be building in longer runs to work up to marathon distance ahead of the final event. I competed in my first marathon in 2017, so am already confident in my ability to complete the distance.
  • I am not setting any time goals for the distances initially, but may do so as I get further into the challenge. I am also happy to slow my pace, even to a walk if necessary, for anybody who joins me on the runs.

Worries

  • Injury prevention is going to be key, as two long running distances in a week – actually a little more – is going to take a toll on my body. I hope to team up with a physio/sports therapist to help prevent injury, and will take all the precautions I can to mitigate any risk. My Mum is also an acupuncturist, which will no doubt come in handy to alleviate any aches and pains.
  • Winter ice, if winter 2017-18 is anything to go by! I am a member of a gym that is located country-wide, so if the ice is too bad – again thinking of injury prevention – I will be able to complete the miles on the treadmill, and my running watch can still track these runs.
  • When feeling stronger I will complete more, on the understanding that at times it will be best to throw in an extra day’s rest.

Training is already well underway, and I’m now just three weeks away from the first run. I look forward to updating you all along the way and please get in touch if you’d like to join me on an upcoming run – I’m willing to travel wherever possible.

I hope you’ll all help me smash the target of £5,000! Better start getting the miles in…


Sean