With 17 marathons and a Guinness World Record for 'The Longest Scarf Knitted Whilst Running a Marathon' under my belt in the past 4 years you'd think that I'd probably have had enough. Wrong! 17 is such a silly number and 20 sounds much better so here's what I have planned - a treble of marathons on consecutive weekends.
The marathons I will be running are the Brighton Marathon on 18th April (completed in 4:56:57), the Virgin London Marathon on 25th April (completed in 5:43:22 and established a new Guinness World Record) and the Three Forts Marathon (which is actually an ultra marathon of 27 miles) on 3rd May (completed in 6:01:24 in dreadful weather conditions and I took a tumble at mile 14!).
However, as usual, there's a twist: I wanted to link in with the Alzheimer's Research Trust's Memories Matter campaign http://www.memories-matter.org/ and so I thought about my knitting exploits and realised there was an obvious link - crochet! You see, there is a crochet stitch called a 'treble' and I will be running 3 marathons and in crochet you can form a series of chain links. This in turn made me think about how our brain stores our memories and how these links are broken by dementia. QED!
So, at the Virgin London Marathon, I will be attempting another Guinness World Record but this time for the 'Longest Crochet Chain whilst running a marathon'. It occurred to me that each one of those chains will represent someone whose life has been touched by dementia so I shall be calling my crochet hook my 'memory hook' from now on. If you would like me to crochet a link in memory of a loved one, please write their name in the comments box when you make a donation. Many thanks to Gerard at http://www.iknit.org.uk/ for providing the yarn I'll be using.
Check out my blog at Extreme Knitting Redhead to see how my training is going. I need all the support I can get this year as my training has been severely hampered since an HGV ploughed into the back of my car, writing it off and leaving me with whiplash - not the best start to the year!If you don't already know my reasons for doing this, please take a few moments to read Mum's Story and you will understand why:
In 1997 my mother, then aged 81, had a series of minor strokes. Shortly after that we started to notice behavioural changes notably memory loss and confusion over everyday items. We thought it was just old age finally catching up with her. Then she started wandering and had violent mood swings. Although she already lived with us it became obvious that she couldn't be left alone for long and so I left my job to care for her.
The next few years saw a gradual decline into the blackness that is 'vascular dementia'. My normally placid mum became violent and aggressive. She had psychotic incidents where she would see imaginary people (children hiding in her wardrobe, Russians sitting on the stairs, women stealing her clothes) and she would shout at them and sometimes throw things too. She was so convincing that we used to go and check that there wasn't anyone there! When my sister died several years ago mum did not know who Judy was or that she was her daughter. The moment that I finally realised she no longer knew that I was her daughter was a terrible time for me.
In the last 2 years that she lived with us, life for us all became almost unbearable as she needed 24 hour care - she couldn't be left alone at all because she would either wander off or hurt herself, she never slept for more than 30 minutes at a time during the night, she became incontinent and incapable of doing anything for herself. Finally my husband and I realised that we could no longer provide her with the care that she needed and she went to live in Castlemaine where Harry and his team did a splendid job caring for her in the final months of her life.
There she lived a zombified existence unaware of who she was, what she was or where she was. It was heartbreaking. She died in 2005, the day after her 89th birthday. I ran my first marathon in her memory 2 weeks later.
Thanks for visiting my fundraising page and for reading mum's story.
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