A supporter in Hereford with dementia is running this year’s London Marathon as part of the Dementia Revolution to fund groundbreaking research.
For those of us daunted by the idea of one marathon, the extent of Malcolm Brookes’s running is hard to truly grasp. Four years ago, he completed his 100th marathon aged 74 – the oldest anyone has been on joining the ‘UK 100 Marathon Club’.
Less than six months later, Malcolm was diagnosed with vascular dementia, yet he’s run another 15 marathons since then.
‘My mantra is all positive – “I can, I will, I am”,’ says Malcolm.
Training for this year’s Virgin Money London Marathon, he’s now joined the Dementia Revolution – our partnership with Alzheimer’s Research UK.
Malcolm's fundraising for the Dementia Revolution will help to fund dementia research that will change lives.
'Running marathons cheers me up. After about two miles, a big grin steals across my face,’ says Malcolm.
‘My mantra is all positive – “I can, I will, I am”. Particularly near the end of a race – the last six miles – it’s sheer determination. I say, “Bring it on!”’
Malcolm, a retired Methodist minister who now lives in Hereford, says he started running marathons ‘almost by accident’. His first was in Jersey while working there, and his second 22 years later during a family visit to Portland, Oregon.
‘Much to my amazement, I was only seven minutes slower than before.’
That’s when he ‘got the bug’.
‘I’m a Yorkshireman and I like a good deal,’ jokes Malcolm.
‘I spotted the 7x7x7 Challenge – seven marathons in seven locations in seven months. I’m a Yorkshireman and I like a good deal, and there was a big discount if you signed up for all seven!
‘It was really tough – I didn’t know what I’d let myself in for – but after that, I was really hooked.'
As Charity of the Year for the 2019 Virgin Money London Marathon, Alzheimer’s Society and Alzheimer’s Research UK are joining forces in the Dementia Revolution to lead the charge towards a cure.
Malcolm is determined to keep active despite the impact of his dementia.
‘Dementia has slowed me down. My memory is not as good as it was. I have a laugh at myself – if I’m struggling to find a word I just make up my own one.
‘I’ve never had to pull out of a marathon because of dementia. I will carry on for as long as I can do it,’ says Malcolm.
‘After I was diagnosed, the consultant said carry on running and eat well. I’ve never had to pull out of a marathon because of dementia. I will carry on for as long as I can do it.
‘I’ve struggled with depression since I was a teenager, but when I’m running I just get into my body and I can get into the physicality of it. It’s great, it gives me a buzz – we’re all very different!
‘If I’m running for charity, I’m helping someone else as well.’