raised of £2,000 target from 47 people

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Alistair Wood is raising £2,000 for Alzheimer's Research UK
Why are you running 250km in the desert? A few years ago my Nan was diagnosed with a form of dementia called vascular dementia. Since then I've seen her go from the outgoing, chatty, master quilter and teacher that she was, to somebody who needs round the clock care and attention. She still has some of her faculties but she is not the nan I used to know. She can recognise me, roughly knows who I am although will confuse me with others but she couldn't tell you much about me any more and will struggle to remember what she's even done that very same day. It's hard to see that happen to somebody that you've looked up to, who has taught you many worldly things and cared for you since you were born. What's more it's hard to see the effect it has on your loved ones too. Dementia is a physical disease caused by changes in the structure of the brain and a shortage of important chemicals that help with the transmission of messages. In short, it robs people of the life that they know, the relationships they have and the futures they have planned. This isn't just happening to my Nan though, it affects over 850,000 people in the UK alone. There are different forms, Alzheimer's being the most prevalent and well-known but it is a complex disease and one that you are sure to come across in some form or another in your lifetime. What I want to do is help fund research into this disease and help improve the lives of people just like my Nan so hopefully in the future, they and their families don't have to go through the same. So I've decided to run this bloody race. I've done a few marathons in my time and even done a couple reasonably fast (2:59:55 ahem) but none of these compare to the scale of the challenge that I'm going to put myself through. In simple terms, the Marathon des Sables is 250km of running in the 40+ degree desert, carrying all of your food and equipment minus an open-ended bivouac which you get to sleep under at the end of each day. It is dubbed the 'Toughest Footrace on Earth'. So to put this into perspective for me, I'm going to run more marathons than I have ran in my almost 30year life, back to back, carrying an 8kg rucksack in the Sahara Desert, one of the most remote places on the planet. Idiot. In order to get myself in some sort of state that will ensure I will survive, I've had to take this all pretty seriously. I got myself a mentor who's helped me to follow a training regime (Step 1 - "You're going to have to lose at least 12kg if you want to do this properly" Coach Rory September 2014). To that end I've made some pretty big sacrifices not least on the food and booze front. I've given up nights out and birthdays, gone home early from social occasions and pretty much been the most boring boyfriend any girl could wish for. However, I think I've got myself into some sort of shape that might just get me through it, possibly even the odd smile at some points. I know it's going to be hard and I am going to need every incentive to get myself through to the finish line. So please dig deep and sponsor me. All of the sponsorship you give, I will pass on directly to the charity. The race entry, equipment costs and travel are all self-funded so every penny you give will go towards helping tackle dementia. I even researched which of the online charity donation portals give all of their money to their charities, hence why I picked this one. So please help and choose a donation package. This is what it'll get you: £10 - 'Sweet Deal' - gets you a sense of pride for doing something good. Use this as an excuse to treat yourself to a pack of Haribo or a Dairy Milk on the way home. Go on, you've earned it. £20 - 'Beach Boy' - gets you that sense of pride that you get for donating a tenner AND that smug feeling you get because you know you're more generous than someone else. I'll also specially import you some sand from the Sahara that you can have as a memento of your generosity. £30 - '#hero' - you'll get the 'Beach Boy' package plus I'll say how nice you are on bookface and Twitter so that all your friends can see and think you're brilliant. £50 - 'The Camel Ride' - all of the above plus I'll put a sticker of your face on my bag so I can carry you with me around the Sahara. Technically you'll complete the race too. £100 - 'Mad, Bad and Dangerous to Know - Aren't you a bloody good egg eh? Not only will you get all of the above and the sense of do-gooding as the others but I'll even try and get you a signed copy of Sir Ranulph Fienne's autobiography. He's competing this year and I'm sure he won't mind me bugging him with a pile of books before the race ;) I might even autograph one of my shoes for you in case I get famous or something. £500 - 'The Mirage Package' - you're a hero and almost too good to be true. I'll pretty much do anything you want. Anything. You can have any of my kit, I'll help you to prepare for your own race in the future, go on a running adventure with you one day whatever. Heck, I'll even put a picture up of you in the bathroom as a constant reminder of your bounteous altruism. Your wish is my command. £? - 'My Bits Your Company' - Ive also got some space on my oh so sexy lycra so if you want to do some corporate sponsorship and put your logo on my bits, get in touch.


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Fundraising for

Alzheimer's Research UK is the UK's leading dementia research charity. As research experts, we fund world-class pioneering scientists to ...