THREE friends are embarking on the challenge of a lifetime as they attempt to run 13 marathons in 13 days to raise £100,000 for the Alzheimer’s Society.
Martin Denholm, 58, of Henty Road, Worthing, developed the idea as a result of seeing his father Stanley Denholm, who lived in East Preston, suffer with the disease for around ten years before he died, aged 91, in June.
He will start the challenge on April 14 with Mark Munns, of Upper Beeding and Patrick Bartholemew, of Palatine Road, Worthing, whose grandfathers both had Alzheimer’s.
The men will run one marathon a day until they reach Denholm, which is just north of the Scottish border.
Mr Denholm, who owns Infusion Hair Design in Montague Street, said the idea came to him while he was training for the Brighton Marathon last year.
“It just seemed to grow from nothing,” he said. “My mum could not believe it when I told her what I was planning to do and everyone just seemed to think that I was stark raving mad.
“It was something I was determined to do though and I started running more regularly - now we are up to running around 138 miles in eight days.
“The training has been pretty gruelling especially with all the bad weather we are having.
“Getting up at 4.45am when it is hammering with rain is grim but you just have to do it.”
The friends say they are determined to complete all 13 marathons, even if they have to crawl.
Mr Denholm said: “There is not really a day that you run without some sort of injury but we know we just have to get the mileage in.
“I really hope we can raise a massive amount of money and awareness for this brilliant cause so more research can be done.”
Mark, 47, said: “I’m running Run to Remember 2014 to support my mate, for my grandad Bert and all other sufferers.”
Patrick, 46, added: “When Martin explained what he wanted to do, my thoughts turned to my own grandad Patsy Forsyth who passed in January 2009 at the age of 92 - after having suffered this disease for nine years. To watch his slow decline into his own world was devastating for the family.”
Search Martin Denholm at www.uk.virginmoneygiving.com to donate.
WHEN Stanley Denholm started to deteriorate rapidly after returning home from hospital with a broken hip, his family made the difficult decision to put him into a home.
Martin said: “My mum Peg was suffering from heart failure herself so it was very difficult because Dad constantly needed attention.
“We had 24-hour care put in place but it became clear that this was not enough and I could not devote any more time although I gave it everything I could.
“Dad could not understand why he was in a home which made it very hard.
“Alzheimer’s is dreadful because it is like someone is stealing the person that you love and it is very hard to know why it is happening.
“The personality change was horrid – seeing dad when he was like that was heartbreaking – he had turned into someone who looked like my dad, but wasn’t.
“The stuff that came out of his mouth was so upsetting.”
Another fall left Stanley with a broken neck and pneumonia. He died a week after being admitted to hospital, and, suffering total heart failure, Peg died the following week.
Martin said: “It was truly awful and the only comfort we could take was that they were together, which is what they would have wanted after so many years of marriage.”