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Run to the beat of a different drum

Last month, John Auckland, who is a writer and company director of a marketing agency, took a stand against neurological conditions by taking part in the Run to the Beat half marathon in support of our Pyjama Party week. John is a familiar face to us here at The National Brain Appeal as he helps us with our social media.

Like many people out there, John’s life has been touched by a neurological condition. On his Gran’s side of the family dementia is a very serious problem, and only recently she has had to go into care. John wanted to do something special for his Gran, so it made sense to him to connect his personal and professional lives for his latest challenge.

John has got back into running and fitness over the last few years and has been throwing himself into new activities. He ran the Reading Half Marathon earlier this year, after completing the Three Peaks Challenge the year before. Learning from experience, this time round he gave himself a little longer to get up to the distance and he made sure that he ran the whole length in training so that his legs knew what to expect.

Despite feeling more prepared for this run, it didn’t exactly get off to the best start. As John explained, “Just before I got started I was stung by a bee – yes, in the last weekend of October! The first part of the race was run with a throbbing leg. Pretty soon though, I got into the rhythm of things, the adrenaline kicked in, I forgot about the pain and really started to enjoy the race.”

John’s high point of the race was running through Greenwich Park where Jameela Jamil was playing on one of the smaller stages dotted around the course. John said, “The music was really good actually and definitely helped to spur you on.”

That wasn’t the only thing there giving John support, the National Brain Appeal team turned out at around mile nine to cheer him on. Maybe the surroundings helped him out too, as John told us, “There was something special about running through the army barracks and coming into the finish line with the iconic buildings of CanaryWharf in the background.”

In the end he completed Run to the Beat in 1 hour 42 minutes exactly, which is four seconds shy of his personal best. He’s a little annoyed that he didn’t push himself harder in the middle of the race (ever the perfectionist) but is glad that it was so close to his best. Well done John!

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