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Alzheimer's Research UK and The Virgin Money London Marathon

What the annual race means to the dementia charity

Director of Supporter-led Fundraising at Alzheimer’s Research UK

Virgin Money London Marathon runner Sue Strachan, who ran the 2018 race to raise money for Alzheimer’s Research UK

Every year, tens of thousands of people take part in the Virgin Money London Marathon – one of the most prestigious sporting events in the world. For Alzheimer's Research UK, this is an incredibly important event in the sporting calendar and we are honoured to have supporters running for us every year.

But this is so much more than a race for Alzheimer's Research UK.

When people take on the gruelling 26.2-mile course for us, they are playing a crucial role in our pioneering work to bring about life-changing treatments for the people impacted by dementia – helping us by:

Bringing our cause to the world stage

Having people run the Virgin Money London Marathon is an enormous opportunity to raise awareness of Alzheimer's Research UK and the need for dementia research – and this starts long before the day itself. In the run-up to the race, the stories behind the people who are taking part generate vital regional and national media attention. Take our inspirational supporter Sue Strachan (pictured above), who took on the marathon for us in 2018 while living with dementia. Her incredible story captured nationwide attention and was covered widely, with key pieces on BBC News Online, Channel 5 News and Yours magazine.

On the day itself, there is a sea of people running in our bright orange Alzheimer's Research UK vests – highlighting our charity to fellow runners and to all those watching on the streets and at home.

Raising funds for ground-breaking dementia research

In 2018, our supporters raised a record-breaking £650,000 through the Virgin Money London Marathon – making it the biggest fundraiser in our sporting calendar. This phenomenal amount of money will help us to fund more ground-breaking research to make breakthroughs possible.

With 850,000 people in the UK living with dementia today – yet no treatments to slow, stop or prevent the diseases, like Alzheimer’s, that cause it – we must do everything we can to invest more in research to make those life-changing discoveries, and we’ll do that thanks to people who take on events like this one.

Developing long-lasting relationships

From the moment people apply for a place, to the post-race celebration, we love to build unique and meaningful relationships with our runners. Over the months, we get to know many of them personally and get to understand their reasons for running for Alzheimer's Research UK – with many doing this because of personal experience of dementia.

During that time, we keep in regular contact, providing tips and advice to help them with their training and fundraising efforts, while also engaging them further with our cause. Thanks to this, their support often continues long after the marathon has come to an end – creating a long-lasting relationship between our charity and our runners for months, if not years to come.

Find out more about Alzheimer's Research UK on their website.

If you’d like to help make breakthroughs into dementia possible, take a look at Alzheimer's Research UK’s events.

Have you gone the extra mile to inspire more people to donate? We’d love to hear your story and top fundraising tips on Facebook and Twitter.

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