Thursday, March 5, 2015


Don't worry, I'm not going to extol the virtues of a brisk walk on a Spring morning, although now I think about it………! No, this is about a re-launch for Alzheimer's Research UK and an exciting partnership with parkrun, organisers of free weekly 5k runs in parks all around the UK and overseas too.

ARUK re-launch

Here's what ARUK said about the re-launch:
"Over the last year we’ve been talking to people with dementia and our supporters about the impact of dementia. A word we frequently heard from affected families was “powerlessness”. Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias take so much from people, shattering lives. 
But at Alzheimer’s Research UK, we know that pioneering research is our best hope of giving that power back. Today we are re-stating our intention as a charity to defeat dementia and launch a fresh new brand that we’ve developed with the help of many supporters and families. We've also launched our new website with updates on our research, essential background information on dementia and all the ways you can get involved with the mission to defeat dementia."
This has meant a new-look website, updating leaflets, tee shirts etc with many people consulted about their views over a long period of time.

I wanted to show you this lovely photo of Jodie and her daughter Georgia both sporting mock-up versions of the new tee shirts. I think the wording on them is a better size than the final design (see my photo below).

Gorgeous girls!

Jodie is the Community Fundraising Manager for ARUK and she's been with them since about 2010. We first met when a local village was donating the proceeds from their annual village fete to ARUK and I was collecting the cheque. Jodie's husband Lloyd has since joined her to work at ARUK in 2013 where he's now the Media and Communications Officer so we speak a lot! He's also in charge of the weekly parkrun newsletter which is very exciting.

This photo of me sporting my new running vest was taken on Tuesday, inbetween showers of rain, with strong winds blowing me about. You have no idea how many photos we had to take to get one where my hair wasn't blowing across my face - I looked like Cousin It from the Addams Family!

When I first saw the final logo (I remember seeing lots of possible ones about 18 months ago), which has been shrouded in secrecy, it was in black and white on the back of my Join dementia research tee shirt and I thought it looked rather like a clothes peg or a comet which was reinforced when I saw the tagline with 'power' in orange which made me think they had joined forces with edf energy. Tee hee!

On the plus side, it's a clean, sharp image and the tag-line 'The Power to Defeat Dementia' gives a strong and positive message. Together we will defeat dementia. I do think the ARUK name needs to be bigger though, so it's easy to spot, as it's a bit small at the moment. A minor detail which will no doubt be ironed out later.


The other News is very exciting indeed. Last year ARUK, along with many other charities, pitched their case to become parkrun's charity partner and they were successful. This was fantastic news as parkrun already has over 1,000,000 registrations in the UK with over 1000 people signing up each week so more and more people will get to learn about dementia whilst getting fit into the bargain - result!

Even Chris Evans, from BBC Radio 2, has been shouting out about what a wonderful experience he and his family had at his local parkrun. Lots of my running chums are regular parkrunners as too are many professional athletes including Liz Yelling who very kindly spoke at our recent London marathon team meeting.

My two chums below haven't been running their whole lives but when they started it quickly became an important part of their lives. I'll write a bit about how I started running in my next post.

Diana takes her whole family along which means there's granny, daughters and grandchildren all taking part together. How lovely that the little ones will grow up thinking that being outdoors and running around is fun rather than something to be avoided in favour of their computers!

I asked her to sum up parkrun in one sentence for me and here's what she said:
Parkrun is "a friendly and inclusive event that welcomes everyone of all ages and paces to join in."

From left back, Josie (Diana's daughter, who will be running the London marathon this year), Aaron (Josie's husband), Granny Diana (I think she's an excellent advert for running as she look so fabulous it's hard to believe she's a granny!) with Hayden and Keaton on the front row.

Ruth, she of 350+ marathons fame who often appears on my blog, is what's known as a 'parkrun tourist' as she travels all over the country doing parkruns in different venues on a Saturday and then runs a marathon in the same area the next day. So far she's done 204 parkruns of which 117 are different ones.

Here she is sporting her 100th parkrun top. She absolutely adores parkruns and calls Saturday 'parkFUN day' - I love that!

That's what parkrun seems to be about - having fun in a safe environment whilst getting out into the fresh air for a spot of exercise. The other brilliant thing about them is that they are completely free to enter and are organised by local volunteers who give up their Saturday mornings to help out. Isn't that wonderful?!

I like the idea of it not being competitive too as that takes away a lot of the pressure you can feel in normal races. Here you are only competing against yourself and you can run, walk, or a combination of the 2 to get yourself around the 5k course in whatever time you are able. This encourages people who might be embarrassed that they are slow to have a go, which can only be a good thing.

This weekend I'm very excited to be taking part in my very first parkrun in Tunbridge Wells and I'll write about my experience next week.

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