Northern Ireland news

Belfast man takes on parkrun tour of Northern Ireland for dementia research

Paul Clarke is aiming to complete 26 parkruns by October

A BELFAST man is to honour his late father who died with Alzheimer's disease by taking on a parkrun challenge.

Paul Clarke (47) is running all 26 parkruns across Northern Ireland to raise money for pioneering dementia research.

A regular at the Falls parkrun in Belfast, he began the charity challenge in April, running at a different parkrun every Saturday.

He has already completed Ballymena, Bangor, Portrush, Carrickfergus, Enniskillen, Larne, Antrim and Derry City 5km events and aims to finish at his home parkrun on October 13.

It is the third year Mr Clarke has taken on a challenge to support Alzheimer’s Research UK. He previously participated in the charity’s inaugural Running Down Dementia challenge to run 100km during the summer and last year he ran the Belfast City Marathon.

Mr Clarke is running in honour of his father Wesley. Also pictured is his late mother Margaret

Mr Clarke said he hopes to raise £1,000 in honour of his late father Wesley, who died in 2011.

"I thought it would be good to do something different this year and go out of the comfort zone of my home parkrun," he said,

"It’s great to go to parkruns that I haven’t run before as they are all different.

"Alzheimer’s Research UK is a charity that is very close to my heart, as my father died with Alzheimer’s disease.

"A lot of people think dementia is just older people losing their memory, but my dad wasn’t an old man, he was only 69 when he died."

He added: "It was very sad to see what was happening to my Dad.

"It was a very tough time and now I want to support research so other people won’t have to go through the same thing."

 Paul Clarke is running for Alzheimer's Research

Kenneth Foreman from Alzheimer’s Research UK, said: "Paul’s parkrun tour of Northern Ireland is a great idea.

"The vital funds he raises will power world-class dementia research projects and help bring an end to the fear, harm and heartbreak of dementia.

"There are 850,000 people with dementia in the UK and Paul’s story shows the devastating effect dementia can have on a family."

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