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Community / Morag’s long wait to run the London Marathon for Alzheimer’s

A WOMAN from Lerwick who had hoped to run in this year’s London Marathon to raise funds for Alzheimer’s Society will have to wait until next year, or possibly until 2023, until she can participate in the popular event.

Morag Smith is raising funds for the Alzheimer’s Society.

Given the delay and the severe financial strain charities are under due to the Covid-19 pandemic, Morag Smith has now doubled her fund raising target to £4,000.

A socially distanced car boot sale at the car park of the Toll Clock shopping centre earlier this month raised a total of £780 towards her target.

The 25-year-old, who works in the charity sector in London, said the “massive shock” of realising her dad slowly was slipping away from her due to Alzheimer’s made her want to help to raise much needed funds.

“My Dad who fixed my bike; my Dad who painted my bedroom many shades of pink when I couldn’t decide on the colour; my Dad who taught me how to fix a blown fuse over the phone; my Dad who always cheered the loudest was going to slowly slip away from me,” she said.

“I always said I would never want to run a marathon. 26.2 miles of torture? No thanks. I’ll simply donate the money instead.

“If running the London Marathon though means that a cure is found sooner, another family is supported, or the care for people living with dementia improves, then everyone of those 26.2 miles will be worth it.”

The event was set to take place on 26 April but due to the pandemic it was first postponed and then turned into a virtual event to be held on 4 October.

Morag was told that her place in the race was deferred to either 2021, 2022 or 2023. A decision on when she will be run is expected to be made in October or November.

Working in the charity sector herself, she only knows all too well of the importance of events such as the London Marathon on charities’ annual income.

Morag with her father Chris.

On any given year, around 45,000 people participate in the Virgin Money London Marathon making it the largest annual one-day fundraising event in the world.

Since the first race in 1981, runners have raised more than £1 billion for good causes.

The postponement and cancellation of these events has meant that UK charities are set to lose up to 48 per cent of their income for 2020/21 with one in 10 facing bankruptcy before the end of the year.

Events fundraising assistant at Alzheimer’s Society Bekah East said: “I am delighted to confirm that Morag Smith is helping to raise much-needed funds for Alzheimer’s Society by taking part in the London Marathon.

“Alzheimer’s Society is the UK’s leading care and research charity for people with dementia and those who care for them. There are 850,000 people with dementia in the UK, with numbers set to rise to over one million by 2025.

“Thanks to support from people like Morag we are able to carry on providing advice, information and care services to the increasing number of families affected by this devastating illness.”

Morag’s fundraising page can be found here.

Almost £800 was raised during a socially distanced car boot sale at the car park of the Toll Clock shopping centre on 9 August.