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©Alzheimer's Research UK

Heartbroken husband to take on Great North Run in memory of wife who died with Alzheimer's aged 62

Written by Samantha Lade, Donr

Published on Tuesday, 4th September 2018

Heartbroken husband to take on Great North Run in memory of wife who died with Alzheimer's aged 62

A former club runner is taking on this weekend's Simplyhealth Great North Run for the first time in more than 20 years to raise money for dementia research.

John Elliott, a former member of Darlington Harriers, last ran the Great North Run in 1996, but will be tackling the half marathon again on Sunday in memory of his wife.

The 64-year-old – who has run the 13.1-mile race six times – is supporting the UK's leading dementia research charity Alzheimer's Research UK as his wife, Christine, passed away last year with Alzheimers disease.

Christine was diagnosed in 2011, aged just 56. She was also a member of the Darlington Harriers and ran the Great North Run twice.

John, from Newton Aycliffe, said: 'Alzheimer's is such a cruel disease. It was really tough and as the carer you get the full brunt of it.

'It never really occurred to me that someone could get Alzheimer’s disease at such a young age. When she started having memory problems I did start to worry that it might be Alzheimer’s, but I was still staggered when she was diagnosed.

'If I ever raised money for or donated to charity in the past it would always be cancer related. But now I want to support dementia research. I believe funding for dementia research is inadequate, so I want to do all I can to help.'

John, a retired bank manager who now works part-time as an environmental warden for Heighington Parish Council, has been running four times a week in preparation for the race and hopes to complete it in around two hours.

He continued: 'My best time for the Great North Run was one hour 14 minutes and I did the London Marathon in two hours 50 minutes. I don’t expect to match past glories, but I will get round even if I have to crawl the last few miles!'

John has so far raised over £700 and his former employer Barclays will match fund donations up to £750.

He is one of 305 runners taking on the world’s largest half marathon for Alzheimer’s Research UK – a record for the charity.

For more information about Alzheimer's Research UK, or to find out more about fundraising for the charity, call 0300 111 5555, or visit their website.