Friends will run for Alzheimer’s Otago

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It in together . . . Friends (from left) Hadyn Youens, Jo Rowe and Nic Bathgate will take part in the Dunedin Marathon next month to raise money and awareness for Alzheimer's Otago. PHOTO: SUPPLIED

When a first-time marathon runner lines up at the start of the Dunedin Marathon next month, she will be doing so to raise money and awareness for a charity close to her heart.

Jo Rowe will tackle the 42km run on September 9 to raise money for Alzheimer’s Otago, after her mother died from the disease in February.

Last year when she visited her mother, who lived in the United Kingdom, she decided she wanted to do something to raise awareness of the disease.

Rowe said she had “always run in some capacity or another” so thought running the full marathon would be a good challenge.

Her friends Nic Bathgate and Hadyn Youens will also do the full marathon and all three will don an Alzheimer’s Otago singlet.

“We would really like people to cheer us on on the way,” she said.

Rowe said the training had been going “surprisingly well” so far.

She ran with a lunchtime running group and the Caversham Harriers.

While she had done a few half marathons before, this would be the first time she had run a full marathon.

“I would love to do it in less than four and a-half hours.

“To finish it would just be amazing.”

About 70,000 people in New Zealand are living with dementia. That is expected to rise to more than 170,000 by 2050.

All the money raised by Rowe, Bathgate and Youens would be given to Alzheimer’s Otago, she said.

She has been on the Alzheimer’s Otago board for about five months and said the organisation was full of like-minded people who all want to have the best knowledge of the disease and to care for people living with it.

“They are just amazing people who love to care for those who are finding life difficult dealing with Alzheimer’s.”

To give, go to https://givealittle.co.nz/org/alzheimers-society-otago-inc. Anyone who also wants to run in an Alzheimer’s Otago top can call the organisation.