Sidmouth’s Jo prepares to run from Bristol to Exeter

Jo Earlam is running a series of half marathons from Bristol to Exeter to raise money for dementia r

Jo Earlam is running a series of half marathons from Bristol to Exeter to raise money for dementia research and care charities. - Credit: Archant

A Sidmouth carer is taking on an ‘epic’ 130-mile running challenge to fund dementia research and care.

Jo Earlam has tasked herself with a series of half marathons that will see her run from Bristol to Exeter, after seeing a number of her loved ones diagnosed with the disease.

The 52-year-old has named the run the Any Mile is Better Challenge and will be raising money for Bristol-based BRACE and Exeter Dementia Action Alliance.

She will be splitting the challenge into eight half marathons to allow for her to go home and care for her husband John, who has been diagnosed with early onset dementia.

Before retiring John ran his own business carrying out property surveys for more than 30 years.

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The founder of the Women Can marathon will start her run on Sunday with the Bristol half marathon.

She will complete a further eight legs across the next four weeks and finish her challenge with the Exeter half marathon on Sunday, October 15.

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Jo, from Tipton St John, is hoping to raise funds and awareness after also losing her father Bernard to dementia two years ago.

The former journalist said: “John’s prognosis of increased risk of developing vascular dementia and Alzheimer’s makes me determined to do something.

“This is about raising as much money as possible for research but also raising awareness of the fact that exercise is one of the things we can all do to reduce our risk of developing dementia.

“It is one of my own biggest fears about my own health. It’s really important to do what I can to take care of my own health.

“Carers have so much to do that for some going out to do anything can be a challenge. It’s about trying to get out and going for a walk.”

BRACE chief executive Mark Poarch called Jo a ‘true inspiration’ to fundraisers across the region.He said: “I’m always impressed by people who run to raise money for BRACE, but going from Bristol to Exeter is something else.

“The money Jo is raising will help fund leading edge research into the causes of dementia so we can move closer to developing effective treatments in the future.”


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