Devonian runner Jo Earlam is taking on an epic running challenge across the South West to raise money and awareness for dementia research.

The 52-year-old will run the Bristol Half Marathon before running home to Exeter to complete the official Exeter Half Marathon – covering a total distance of 130 miles.

Jo will be running for BRACE and the Exeter Dementia Action Alliance in support of her husband John who was recently diagnosed with early stage dementia. The former journalist also lost of father to dementia a few years ago and has raised many thousands of pounds for research into the illness in the past 20 years. Most remarkably, she ran fifty marathons for BRACE over a four year period.

The run from Bristol to Exeter will be broken up in to a series of half marathons – each one starting at the spot where the previous one ended.

Jo explained the motivation behind her Any Mile Is Better challenge. She said, “John’s prognosis of increased risk of developing vascular dementia and Alzheimer’s makes me determined to do something. This is about raising as much money as possible for research but also raising awareness of the fact that exercise is one of the things we can all do to reduce our risk of developing dementia.

“That’s why this challenge is called ‘Any Mile is Better. You don’t have to run from Bristol to Exeter, just a little exercise can help!”

BRACE chief executive Mark Poarch said Jo was a true inspiration to fundraisers across the region. He said, “I’m always impressed by people who run to raise money for BRACE, but going from Bristol to Exeter is something else! It’s also symbolic in its way, because Bristol and Exeter are two of the centres of world class science where BRACE is funding research.

“The money Jo is raising will help fund leading edge research into the causes of dementia so we can move closer to developing effective treatments in the future.”

The challenge begins with the Bristol Half Marathon on Sunday 17th September 2017 and ends with the Exeter Half Marathon on Sunday 15th October. In between the route will cover a further eight half-marathon distances, also taking in the dementia fundraising Muddifords Cheese Run, on Sunday 8th October.

You can support Jo through her fundraising page.