Regular readers of our newsletter and website news items will know the name Jo Earlam. Jo, from a village in South Devon, is one of our most determined and indomitable supporters. Three years ago, she set herself the target of running fifty marathons in little more than three years, finishing around her 50th birthday. On Sunday, she completed her marathon of marathons.

In calculating how far she has run, we have to factor in an extended marathon along Hadrian’s Wall and a charmingly absent minded wrong turn when she was chatting to another runner! All we can say is that Jo has run the best part of 1,400 miles for us, and that’s a fantastic achievement.

The original spur for Jo’s commitment to our cause was her father’s struggle with vascular dementia. He passed away suddenly earlier this year, and Jo bravely shared her experience with us in her regular blog, which is always insightful and often funny or deeply moving. She has used her personal pain and her gutsy determination to help others.

Jo also blogged about the final marathon in Edinburgh and I will let her describe the final moments of the run in her own words:

It’s been an incredible journey of ups and downs – but seeing that finish line at Edinburgh on Sunday was just the most adrenaline-fuelled moment of my life. I remember rounding the corner at the 26 mile point, hearing the crowd cheering, the course lined with spectators, and realising there was just 0.2 of a mile between me and my dream. I launched into a spontaneous victory sprint, crying out something like: “50 marathons, I’ve done it!” I literally leapt across the finish line, punching the air. It was simply A FANTASTIC 50!

What I would like to say, Jo, is that you have given us not just your fundraising but a great story. We can all understand why you care so much about beating dementia and we are all hugely impressed (some of us have to admit daunted) by the challenge you set yourself back in 2012. We’re glad we still have you as a supporter and co-worker in the struggle against dementia, with or without running shoes.