After 50 marathons and 1,310 miles, Jo’s race is finally run

Jo Earlam crossing the finish line

Jo Earlam crossing the finish line - Credit: Archant

A running ace, who set out on a fundraising mission to complete 50 marathons by her 50th birthday, has completed her challenge, writes Stephen Sumner.

Marathon runner Jo Earlam (middle) with Claire Ashby, Becky Robson, Jane Hemsworth and Helen Palmer

Marathon runner Jo Earlam (middle) with Claire Ashby, Becky Robson, Jane Hemsworth and Helen Palmer - Credit: Archant

It was a bittersweet climax for Jo Earlam, who lost her father, Bernard, just weeks before her final race in Edinburgh and her landmark birthday.

He had been diagnosed with vascular dementia and inspired Jo’s epic fundraiser for Alzheimer’s charity BRACE.

She has netted more than £6,000 - £4.50 for every mile she has run.

Jo said: “I remember rounding the corner at the 26-mile point and realising there was just a fifth of a mile between me and my dream. I launched into a victory sprint and literally leapt across the finish line. Emotion got the better of me just after, as I sat and remembered my dad and his own challenging journey.

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“Whilst I’d persevered in ticking off around one marathon a month, Dad had struggled with advancing vascular dementia. I was adding to my mileage and my medals. Dad was losing his ability to speak, eat, sleep and recognise me – let alone, my achievements.”

Jo said her dad was ‘definitely with me in spirit’, and had helped her to battle on.

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“Many people told me I was crazy to take on this challenge,” said Jo, of Tipton St John. “It seemed madness to me as well at times. This journey has taught me to never let your own fear or other people’s doubts stop you from following your dream. It may be crazy – but it could be fantastic too.”

The Sidmouth Running Club member was joined by Claire Ashby, Becky Robson, Jane Hemsworth and Helen Palmer in Edinburgh, as well as Amanda Perry and Julie Payne, who did the half marathon. She thanked them and everyone else who has supported her.

The former Herald reporter now plans to have a rest and possibly write a book of her experiences – giving her plenty time to sit down.

To contribute to her total, visit

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