Marathon addict running to beat dementia

A Tipton woman who wants to run 50 marathons before she turns 50 is raising money for an Alzheimer’s charity after her father was diagnosed with dementia.

Jo Earlam is currently 11 races down and has just three more years to make it to a half-century, before she hits her own half-century.

She is running at least six this year, including four in four days, starting with the London Marathon in April to raise money for South West Alzheimer’s charity BRACE.

Both Jo’s grandparents died from the brain disease, and a close friend has been diagnosed with PCA, the same type of dementia as the author Terry Pratchett.

She said this has inspired her to say ‘darn to dementia’ and raise money through a number of events, including a five-mile walk along the Otter Valley and an Easter egg Easter bingo later this month.

Jo, who lives in Tipton St John, said after her father Bernard’s diagnosis of vascular dementia aged 70 late last year, his condition has badly deteriorated, calling it a ‘terrible illness’.

She is currently running more than 30 miles a week for what will be her second time competing in the London event.

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Jo said her plan to run 50 marathons before she turn 50 herself in 2015 is ‘slightly mad’, but is signed up to run the Medoc Marathon in France in early September.

She will follow this with four marathons in four days in Suffolk later that month.

In addition to tie in with the ‘darn to dementia’ theme, Jo is hoping people will send her their spare wool, or some home-made knitted items, to sell at a coffee morning in early May.

To donate or for more information on Jo’s events visit, or text GOJO50 to the number 70070, followed by the amount you want to donate.