Alzheimer's Research UK is the UK's leading dementia research charity. As research experts, we specialise in funding world-class, pioneering research at leading universities to find preventions, treatments and a cure for dementia. We believe science and innovation hold the key to defeating dementia and invest in the scientists learning more about the condition and its causes. Our findings improve the lives of everyone affected by dementia now and in the future. We forge partnerships with Government and other key organisations to make dementia research a national priority. We encourage everyone to join us in supporting research and achieving a world free from dementia.
30 June 2017
My journey to 100 marathons whilst raising money for ARUK.
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Susie Hewer - My 60th Birthday Challenge (3)
Hi, thanks for visiting my page where I am again raising funds for Alzheimer's Research UK. For anyone without experience of dementia and the horrors that it brings, please read mum's story below and you'll see why I think it's so important to raise awareness about the disease and I continue to raise money for vital research (so far I have raised nearly £50,000 for ARUK in the last 11 years).
You can keep up to date with my progress by checking out my blog
So what's it all about now then? Well, I completed my challenge of running 60 marathons by the age of 60 some 18 months early so I needed a new goal and embarked upon what's known as The Quest for the Vest. The vest in question is a coveted blue and yellow affair worn by a small band of runners who have achieved the milestone of completing 100 marathons (some of them have completed many more than that!). This is something I never even dreamed of until 2015 when I ran 20 marathons but when someone put the idea into my head that I should do it I couldn't stop thinking about it as another way of drawing attention to my chosen charity, ARUK.
At the start of 2016 I had 60 marathons under my belt and 40 more to go to earn that very special vest. My aim was to complete them before I turn 60 in June 2017 but I managed to complete it on 23rd October 2016. I'd taken the precaution of entering more races than I needed in case of unexpected events but even though I have had to jiggle things around a bit I still have a lot left to run to take me to the end of 2016.
So what's a girl to do? Extend the challenge to make it even more difficult!
As at 23rd October, I had already completed 40 marathons in 2016 and if I completed all the events I'd already entered my total at the end of 2016 would be 50 for the year. However, there is another target acknowledged by the 100 marathon club which is known as 52 in 52, ie 52 marathons or ultra marathons in 52 weeks.
I bet you can guess what I did next! Please scroll down to see which events I have completed to finish stage 2 of my challenge.
Of course, that means I still have 6 months before my 60th birthday so a new challenge is being plotted.Please watch this space for details.
10th Fowlmead Challenge (30.5 miles in 6:35:10) 61
17th Jeskyns Challenge (30 miles in 5:45:04) 62
24th Dymchurch marathon (4:55:55) 63
31st Chocathon Challenge (30.9 miles in 6:09:01) 64
13th The Unusual Suspects Challenge (5:13:39) 65
14th The Valentine's Day Challenge (5:08:11) 66
21st The Good, the Bad & the Ugly marathon (4:56:12) 67
28th The Relativity Run Challenge (5:48:03) 68
29th The Leap Year Challenge (5:27:43) 69
6th The Steyning Stinger (6:18:08) 70
20th The Sevenoaks Circular Challenge 30 miles (8:53) 71
16th The Fowlmead 50 miles (10:39:53) 72
1st Three Forts marathon (5:57:16) 73
2nd Cakeathon Challenge (5:07:24) 74
7th Orpington marafun (5:27:05) 75
14th Bewl Water marathon (5:48:11) 76
15th Starfish marathon (5:08:06) 77
27th Greg & Janet's Wedding marathon (6:58:11) 78
28th Kent Roadrunner marathon (5:00:14) 79
5th Reculver marathon (5:15:51) 80
12th Phone Home Run (5:29:33) 81
15th Cookiethon Challenge (6:06:24) 82
16th Fudgeathon Challenge (6:06:58) 83
25th Jeskyns Challenge (5:23:42) 84
30th Beatrix Potter Challenge (7:18:29) 85
10th North Downs Way marathon (6:55:06) 86
17th Samphire Hoe Challenge (8:18) 87
6th Phoenix Summer Challenge (5:37:51) 88
11th Olympic Challenge (5:26:55) 89
13th Darnley Challenge (5:51:46) 90
14th Punk Run Challenge (5:42:21) 91
10th Rye Harbour Challenge (i) (5:31:22) 92
11th Rye Harbour Challenge (ii) (5:44:14) 93
15th Roald Dahl Challenge (6:20:34) 94
18th Kent Coyote marathon (4:57:41) 95
21st Lucky Dip Challenge (6:25:54) 96
22nd Tolkien Challenge (5:54:47) 97
15th Winnie the Pooh Wander Challenge (6:05:25) 98
16th Tigger Bounceathon Challenge (6:57:25) 99
23rd Cakeathon Challengege (5:31:21) 100
Hmmmm, I finished my original challenge a little sooner than expected! Now for the 52 in 52 part.......This runs from 5/12/15 until 4/12/16
29th Beachy Head marathon (7:27:31) 43 of 52
1st World Vegan Day Challenge (6:20:40) 44 of 52
13th A20 Path 'n' Downs (5:36:26) 45 of 52
18th Somme Centenary Challenge (5:43:25) 46 of 52
23rd Timelord on the Thames marathon (5:38:06) 47 of 52
26th Saxon Shore marathon (5:12:38) 48 of 52
27th Saxon Shore marathon (5:27:39) 49 of 52
30th St Andrews Day marathon (5:37:56) 50 of 52
1st Advent Challenge (5:41:50) 51 of 52
4th Dymchurch marathon (5:08:11) 52 of 52 and marathon 110 in total
In 1997 my mother, then aged 81, had a series of minor strokes. Shortly after that we started to notice behavioural changes notably memory loss and confusion over everyday items. We thought it was just old age finally catching up with her. Then she started wandering and had violent mood swings. Although she already lived with us it became obvious that she couldn't be left alone for long and so I left my job to care for her.
The next few years saw a gradual decline into the blackness that is 'vascular dementia'. My normally placid mum became violent and aggressive. She had psychotic incidents where she would see imaginary people (children hiding in her wardrobe, Russians sitting on the stairs, women stealing her clothes) and she would shout at them and sometimes throw things too. She was so convincing that we used to go and check that there wasn't anyone there! When my sister died several years ago mum did not know who Judy was or that she was her daughter. The moment that I finally realised she no longer knew that I was her daughter was a terrible time for me.
In the last 2 years that she lived with us, life for us all became almost unbearable as she needed 24 hour care - she couldn't be left alone at all because she would either wander off or hurt herself, she never slept for more than 30 minutes at a time during the night, she became incontinent and incapable of doing anything for herself. Finally my husband and I realised that we could no longer provide her with the care that she needed and she went to live in Castlemaine where Harry and his team did a splendid job caring for her in the final months of her life.
There she lived a zombified existence unaware of who she was, what she was or where she was. It was heartbreaking. She died in 2005, the day after her 89th birthday. I ran my first London marathon in her memory 2 weeks later.
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Anonymous £30.00 (+ £7.50 giftaid)
04.03.17 Hi Susie, it was lovely to meet you again after quite a few years gone by. I'm amazed at what you have done, as I'm sure everyone else is as well. Good luck with next weekend's event. Anthony x
Karen £20.00 (+ £5.00 giftaid)
24.12.16 Happy Christmas, love from, Karen, Mark, Sophie & Chloe xxxxx
Sandra S £50.00 (+ £12.50 giftaid)
19.12.16 Well done for all you have achieved so far and keep on running. 60 is the new 40.
John & Fiona W. £100.00 (+ £25.00 giftaid)
12.11.16 As promised £1.00 for every marathon you have run by 1/1/2017 if you haven't reached the 100 yet I bet you soon will.
Pam Dance £100.00 (+ £25.00 giftaid)
27.10.16 Well done Susie, you ran your 100th marathon well within your target time. Also our neighbour with dementia lost her battle at the end of September. She is now at peace after several years with this debilitating condition.
Lizzie Glennon £50.00 (+ £12.50 giftaid)
26.10.16 Susie you are such an inspiration and I am so so so proud of what you have achieved
Ambassador Vader £100.00 (+ £25.00 giftaid)
24.10.16 What took you so bloody long? Congratulations on 100 marathons and ultras
24.10.16 Congratulations on your amazing achievement Susie.
Den £50.00 (+ £12.50 giftaid)
17.10.16 You're my hero Susie Hewer x
Vincent FitzPatrick £75.00 (+ £18.75 giftaid)
01.09.16 Impressive and inspirational.
Karen £15.00 (+ £3.75 giftaid)
16.06.16 Happy Birthday Susie, Love from, Karen, Mark, Sophie & Chloe xxxxx
Lisa Jackson £20.00 (+ £5.00 giftaid)
30.05.16 Susie you are an inspiration and your Mum would be so very proud of you. I'm in awe of everything you've achieved and so touched by your desire to help others.
Phil & Dee £20.00 (+ £5.00 giftaid)
06.04.16 With love from Dee & Phil.xxx
Nigel and Ali Davies £50.00 (+ £12.50 giftaid)
01.04.16 Keep on running!
Pam £25.00 (+ £6.25 giftaid)
31.03.16 Good luck in your quest, you do realise that's twice as many runs as last year!!
Peter & Jennie £20.00 (+ £5.00 giftaid)
31.03.16 Amazing achievements Susie, and a fantastic goal. Well done.
Nick & Sally Webb £20.00 (+ £5.00 giftaid)
30.03.16 Good luck Susie, a very worthy cause. It was a very similar story with my mum who sadly passed away in 2012 after suffering with dementia for several years.
Marc & Deborah £50.00 (+ £12.50 giftaid)
29.03.16 You are amazing Suzie. Many congratulations on your quest.
Jan and Bill £20.00 (+ £5.00 giftaid)
29.03.16 Well done, Susie.
Suzanne, Ray & Clara £20.00 (+ £5.00 giftaid)
29.03.16 Good luck Susie! X
Barbara Shapiro £50.00 (+ £12.50 giftaid)
13.01.16 Good luck! I will check how you are doing, if I remember
12.01.16 Small clanger sends his love. X
Karen, Mark, Sophie & Chloe £25.00 (+ £6.25 giftaid)
24.12.15 Happy Christmas
20.12.15 I knew you'd wear the Christmas Tree outfit all the way round your marathon. You rock! xxx
Sandra £50.00 (+ £12.50 giftaid)
18.12.15 Fantastic achievement so far. All the very best for reaching your next target.