Explain to us about your 500 miles challenge. What did it involve?
I started running in October 2015 as I wanted to lose some weight and improve my fitness and general health. Meanwhile, my mum, who was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s Disease 6 years ago aged 56, was continuing to deteriorate and I was feeling quite helpless as to how to best help her.
I knew that I couldn't do anything to reverse what was happening to her, but I thought it would be worthwhile to combine my new found love of running with a fundraiser to help her and other people affected by Alzheimer's. My challenge was to run 500 miles in a year, which was a daunting prospect as I really wouldn't have described myself as a "runner"!
You decided to take on this challenge to improve your fitness. Tell us a bit about how you feel now compared to how you felt at the beginning.
It was hard at the start. I could only run for about 15 minutes in one go and it took a lot of effort to go out in the dark and cold weather in the early months of the year. Over time though my stamina improved and soon I was running 5k in about half an hour and continued to increase my distance and speed over the coming months. I set myself a target to run about 10 miles a week and by sticking to this I soon racked up the miles. It was so encouraging to see the sponsorship money coming in which motivated me to keep going.
You chose to support Alzheimer Scotland because your mum was diagnosed with early onset Alzheimer’s 6 years ago. What have the past few years been like?
To be honest, it has been really hard to see my Mum change so much. The decline was slow initially, but the symptoms have become more noticeable and more challenging in recent years. Although she still recognises us just now, which I'm grateful for, there are other some people she no longer remembers.
How has Alzheimer’s impacted your mum and your family?
My Mum is now dependent on my Dad's full time care. She finds it difficult to communicate, needs help with washing and dressing and all aspects of daily life. She used to be an amazing cook but now is unable to do anything like that. She is unable to really make any decision for herself and this has been really hard as a family to see her deteriorate and require increasing levels of help.
Although my Mum is no longer able to communicate fully, I know that she would be proud of my achievement and that she would be happy that Alzheimer Scotland were benefiting as a result of the fundraising.
What’s been the most memorable moment of taking part in your challenge?
I wanted to mark the end of my challenge in a special way so we invited our family and friends to run, walk or scoot my final mile with me. Over fifty people came along to support me which was great.
My six year old son, Nathan, joined me in running along with my brothers Colin and Steve. This was really special. My wife, Sarah, and our two year old daughter, Anna, walked the mile with our other family and friends along with lots of children in their buggies and on scooters.
It was great to be able to thank everyone for their support and encouragement over the year. My family are great bakers and what better way to celebrate the completion of my challenge than by eating cake and drinking prosecco?!
Congratulations on absolutely smashing your fundraising target! Why do you think that was? What did you do to get your friends, family and colleagues to support you? Has it been easy to get sponsorship from them?
I still can't believe the generosity of people! I thought raising my initial target of £500 would be a great achievement but raising over £7000 is just incredible. I set up a Facebook page to document my progress where I posted photos of the places I had been running and details of my progress.
So many of our friends and colleagues know how Alzheimer's Disease is affecting our family and people were so keen to show their support through sponsorship. I am so grateful for all of their encouragement.
If you’ve been inspired to support Euan, you can still donate on his JustGiving page.
If you’d like to join #TeamAlzScot and challenge yourself to take part in a sponsored event. Find out what you can do in 2017!