Of the 15,000 people running the Vitality Bath Half Marathon on Sunday 12th March 2017, there are two for whom the race is particularly significant. Father and daughter Peter and Madeleine Patston will be running to raise money for Parkinson’s UK, one of the race’s official charities, after Peter was diagnosed with Parkinson’s in 2015. Despite the condition having an enormous impact on his health, he remains determined to carry on as normal.
Unexpectedly, exercise has been one means by which Peter has been able to mitigate some of the effects of Parkinson’s. Peter is therefore running the Vitality Bath Half to not only alleviate his symptoms, but to raise as much as possible for a charity that works tirelessly to improve life for people with Parkinson’s.
Madeleine, 29, recalls, “I just couldn’t believe it when he said he was going to run the Vitality Bath Half for Parkinson’s UK. It is an impressive feat for anyone, but much more for somebody who has an awful illness that attacks the motor system. I was so impressed and offered to run with him as support and to boost his fundraising total.”
The award-winning Vitality Bath Half Marathon is one of the UK’s top three single day charity fundraising events, with over 130 official charities for runners to choose from. Parkinson’s UK is one of the race’s Gold Bond Charities, driving better care, treatment and quality of life for people with Parkinson’s. Completely reliant on donations, Peter and Madeleine’s fundraising will help the charity to fund research into finding a cure for this debilitating condition.
Peter and Madeleine’s story is even more exceptional as Madeleine will be flying home to run the Vitality Bath Half with her dad, and has herself only recently resumed running after the birth of her daughter.
Originally from Bath, Madeleine has spent the last three years living in Germany since her husband took up a postdoctoral position there. She has always loved running, becoming a member of the Wessex & Bath Athletics Club at an early age and since joining the athletics clubs at university and in Germany. Desperate to regain her fitness after a caesarian section, Madeleine has slowly built back up to two runs per week and is clearly delighted to have the half marathon goal with her father next March.
“I just love it – running in all kinds of weather, on the track, on trails and roads; it’s a way of life for me now and I can’t get enough!” enthuses Madeleine.
“The Bath Half will take place on my daughter’s first birthday so I feel like her birthday will be a triple celebration – of her Grandad’s amazing feat of completing the race (fingers crossed!), of my return to fitness and of course a wonderful first year with my beautiful little girl.”
It won’t be the first time that Madeleine runs the spectacular 13.1-mile route of the Vitality Bath Half Marathon. In 2007 she ran the race for Cancer Research UK, following her mum’s recovery from ovarian cancer two years previous. After surgery, several months of chemotherapy and excellent care at the Royal United Hospitals Bath, she was finally given the all clear, leaving Madeleine inspired to do more for people facing similar situations.
Although she is looking forward to running her home town’s race ten years on, Madeleine is training for it very differently. She remembers, “At the time I was intensively training for 400m races. I ended up just doing one ‘long’ run in preparation (at the time I thought 600m was ‘long’), and then struggled around in just over two hours. It was wonderful to see my parents shouting their support madly from the sidelines. However, it was also extremely painful. Needless to say this time I will be better prepared!”.
Madeleine has promised to run with Peter at his own pace and their target time for the Vitality Bath Half is a respectable three hours. Anyone wishing to support their fundraising for Parkinson’s can donate here: www.justgiving.com/PeterPatston.
The Vitality Bath Half Marathon has become one of the most popular road racing events in the UK. The two-lap course on both sides on the River Avon is renowned for its amazing crowd support, and fast flat course, ideal for athletes of all levels including beginners and charity runners. Each year the race attracts a strong British elite field and a large number of celebrities who are attracted by the stunning setting, fantastic crowd support and the promise of a good finishing time.
The Vitality Bath Half Marathon 2017 is open for entries and selling well. General public places have sold out every year since 2000 and, as always, runners are being advised to secure their place early through the race’s website to avoid disappointment.
Cancer Research UK is the Lead Charity for 2017, with the Cancer Research UK Kids & Teens the official Family Fun Run Charity. The official local charity is Dorothy House Hospice Care.
Go to www.bathhalf.co.uk/charities for further details about running for charity, like the Facebook page www.facebook.com/BathHalfMarathon and follow @bathhalf #bathhalf on Twitter to keep up to date with all the latest news about the Vitality Bath Half Marathon.