Following in his family's footsteps, Grant from Edinburgh is running his first Marathon in support of Alzheimer Scotland. Here, he explains why.
Last Boxing Day, I was reminiscing with my dad about just one of his many adventures. As newlyweds, he and my mum embarked on a tandem cycle around Europe before hitchhiking their way to Africa. They traveled for three months and over 10,000 miles on a budget of just £2.30 a day.
“Do you not fancy going on a big adventure yourself?”, my dad asked. I was batting the question away with stories of my own adventures past when my phone beeped. A message popped up from a friend, “Thinking of the Edinburgh Marathon in May. You interested?”
Before my dad was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s and my mum passed away with Parkinson’s dementia, my parents were always up for big adventures. They were particularly fond of running marathons for charity in fancy dress. Whether it was a fairy costume in Glasgow, a full Highland kilt in Paris, or a cartoon witch carrying a little version of dad through our hometown of Dundee, nothing was ever too daft or impractical to run in.
Over the years my dad ran thirteen marathons and raised thousands of pounds for charities. His efforts were recognised in 2012 when he was selected as an Olympic Torchbearer. At the age of 70, he took on the 85 mile Caledonia eTape on a mountain bike, naturally dressed as Parky Fairy, raising almost £3,000 for Parkinson’s UK.
I thought to myself that if I'm going to overtake my Dad's lifetime record I better get moving. Not to mention my younger brother's bagged sixteen of the things and my mum at least one. With my current record of zero, I don't even make the podium in my own family! I took a screenshot of my Edinburgh Marathon entry and pressed send before I had a chance to talk myself out of it.
Now, i'm 4 months into a 5 month training plan. I am as surprised that my body’s still holding up as I am moved at the generosity and support of my friends and family. Raising money for Alzheimer Scotland gets me some bonus points with my dad but I think I’ll only get his full approval by donning a gorilla suit or banana costume. One thing at a time dad…