Alzheimer’s Research UK has launched its award-winning virtual running campaign for a third year – with plans to attract more runners than ever to power life-changing dementia research.
Running Down Dementia challenges participants to run or walk 100km before the end the summer and raise £100 for the UK’s leading dementia research charity.
Alzheimer’s Research UK, which is the official charity partner of parkrun UK, first launched Running Down Dementia in 2016. Since then it has raised around £470,000 – enough to enable the charity to fund two major research projects. Last year more than 4,000 people signed up for the challenge and they clocked up 367,178km – more than nine times the circumference of the Earth.
Kenneth Foreman, Senior Sporting Events Manager at Alzheimer’s Research UK, said: “We’ve had two brilliant years of Running Down Dementia and we are hoping this year will be the biggest and best yet.
“Hundreds of people have got into running thanks to Running Down Dementia, while the campaign has proved a great way for regular runners to stay motivated and challenge themselves to go further.
“There are 850,000 people with dementia in the UK and Alzheimer’s Research UK is on a mission to end the fear, harm and heartbreak of dementia. Each and every runner who takes part in Running Down Dementia is striking a blow in the battle against dementia.”
This year the campaign, which won the Best Use of Digital Award at the 2017 Institute of Fundraising National Fundraising Awards, has been launched a month early to encourage people to get out and get fit after Easter.
The challenge is open to everyone of all ages and fitness levels. There is no right or wrong way to complete the 100km, participants can split up the distance into whatever chunks they like and can clock up the kilometres at parkrun, on the street or the gym.
When someone signs up they create their own supporter page where people can see how they are getting on and sponsor them. Participants can connect tracking apps such as Strava or MapMyFitness to their supporter page to track and record their activity or can manually add runs.
Andy Morris, who is the Event Director of the Poolsbrook parkrun, is one of the top Running Down Dementia fundraisers having raised more than £5,000 in two years. He was inspired to support Alzheimer’s Research UK as his mum Peggy, who died last year, had vascular dementia.
He said: “It was running that helped me cope with what was happening to my family, so it’s great that I can support Alzheimer’s Research UK through taking part in Running Down Dementia. It’s great to feel part of something and be able to do something to help.
“Running Down Dementia is a great campaign. The more money we can raise the quicker we can get the treatments that are so desperately needed.”