Marathon Man

Posted: March 18, 2014By: Chris Boughton

Two and half years ago my son Ollie ran a half marathon, which is 13 miles, to raise money for the Cure Parkinson’s Trust. He had never embarked on anything like this before, and he had to train very hard before the event. Being the competitive beast that he is, he set himself a time target of completing the half marathon in less than two hours which, for a rookie, was a tough challenge. His time on the day was 1 hour 40 minutes, and he raised over £1600 for the Trust. I was extremely proud of him for taking on such a physical challenge to raise money for the charity. I cannot begin to imagine that I would ever have subjected my body to such torment even if I did not have Parkinson’s disease. Apparently these long runs can be quite addictive and, subsequent to the half marathon, Ollie has applied each year to enter the London Marathon of 26.2 miles. In October last year he learnt that he had been accepted for the 2014 Virgin London Marathon, taking place in April. What followed has been a gruelling 5 months of after-work training, mostly in the dark and cold of a British winter, and a particularly wet winter at that. Once again he is running to raise money for the Cure Parkinson’s Trust. This is a charity for which I have been an advocate for the past 7 years.

His preparation has involved running about five times a week, steadily building up his stamina by gradually increasing the distance he runs. He has also built up his strength and stamina at the gym and the pool which, fortunately, is near to where he works. A close golfing friend has also entered the marathon this year so Ollie has had company on some of his gruelling training outings. Ollie’s boss, Malcom, has also been inspired to hit the streets with him and, on occasions, joining him for part of the training runs on the cold, wet and often very windy evenings after they finish work. Two weeks ago Ollie entered a half Marathon in Milton Keynes with another friend who lives there and who is also in this year’s London Marathon. He set himself the target of beating his first half marathon time of two years ago. It was an unseasonably warm Sunday morning but he completed the course in 1 hour 33 minutes, which was a massive 7 minutes faster than before. Last week he ran 18 miles after work, so his preparation is building nicely for the full marathon in a month’s time.

Unfortunately I am not well enough to make the journey to London to watch him start and finish the marathon, which is something that distresses me greatly. I am so proud of what he is doing, especially as he has pushed himself so far out of his comfort zone to selflessly make a contribution to a charity that is doing everything it can to improve the prospects of a cure for Parkinson’s disease. I will, of course, watch the whole event on TV and, apparently, I can monitor his progress via a satellite link on the internet. Once again he has set himself a tough target time of finishing somewhere between three-and-a-half and four hours, but has to set off with the less experienced runners towards the back of the field so he will be faced with a slowish start. We have lunch together every Friday at our local golf club so I get weekly updates on his training progress, and I know only too well how tough it has been. He told me this week that it had taken over his life but in a positive way. As I said before I am so, so proud of him.

Chris Boughton

Chris Boughton

I was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease (PD) in February 2004 at the age of 51 having experienced undiagnosed symptoms for at least 4 years prior to that. My wife and I have five adult children and three grandchildren. We are fortunate in that we live in a lovely rural part of the east of England, with King’s Forest situated nearby for my much needed, therapeutic dog walks. I spent most of my working life involved in electronic, mechanical manufacturing management within the Worldwide Broadcasting industry and I am extremely lucky to have travelled extensively through my work. Since I was diagnosed I have dedicated much of my time to researching all aspects of PD and trying to both support others with this illness and raise the profile of PD. As well as writing a blog on this website, I administer an internet patient forum for people with PD which I set up in September 2008 and it currently has over 150 members. I also administer the forum’s Facebook, Friends Reunited and Twitter pages. My younger son recently ran in a half marathon race to raise funds for the Cure Parkinson’s Trust. I am currently studying for a BA (Hons) in English and History as a mature student.

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