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Julie runs the extra mile for Alzheimer charity

Julie and her brother Alan Smith at the finish line of the 2024 London Marathon

Julie and her brother Alan Smith at the finish line of the 2024 London Marathon

Our Hair and Beauty Programme Manager, Julie Allen has recovered from her fourth bash at the London Marathon. Not only did Julie achieve a new personal best of 3 hours, 53 minutes and 38 seconds, she also raised £8,000 for Alzheimer’s Research UK taking the total amount raised over the four marathons to a whopping £20,000!

Julie and her brother Alan Smith have been running the prestigious event on and off since 2017, after Alan suggested they do it initially for a laugh after only running 7 miles.

The applications went in for the ballot and the self-titled Sibling Striders running group was formed… Julie was selected but Alan missed out! They both did the training though with 5.00am runs on cold, dark winter mornings.

 “Running my first ever marathon, in honesty was an amazing experience. I loved it until I hit the wall at mile 19. Then it was tough, it was a mental and physical challenge.

“I crossed the finish line at 4 hours, 29 minutes and 42 seconds. I declared to my brother that it was my first and last marathon…”

Julie’s brother Alan wasn’t taking no for an answer and applied for them both again in 2018. This time Alan made it and Julie thought she had missed out!

 “Alan was selected and I wasn’t so I thought phew that’s got me out of that. It was short lived, when Alan announced he had secured me a charity place with Alzheimer’s Research UK.”

The charity is particularly close to Julie and Alan’s heart their mum had earlier been diagnosed with the disease before passing away a few years later.

The 2018 London Marathon was one of the hottest on record at 24 degrees centigrade with runners being warned it could be even hotter on the course due to the heat absorbed by the roads!

Julie said. “It was unbearable, fire engines were lined up with sprinklers around the course to give some relief to the runners, who were passing out all over the course.

 “There were many times that day that I thought I wasn’t going to make it but we did it in 4 hours, 22 minutes and 29 seconds.”

In 2019 Julie and her brother trimmed their finishing time down further to just under four hours posting 3 hour 55 minutes and 16 seconds.

2020 came around and Julie got a ‘Good for Age’ place which are awarded based on qualifying times achieved within the designated qualifying period for the runner’s age. Alan had managed to secure a charity slot. Then Covid lockdowns struck meaning that, that year’s marathon didn’t go ahead.

Julie and Alan decided to take a break and deferred their entries mainly due to injuries and illness for a few years. 2024 came around and the last chance to use their marathon slots had arrived, so before they were lost the training began.

The rest must have done them good as their personal best was beaten again by a couple of minutes. Julie and Alan might not be done with marathons just yet either.

Julie said: “Next year we are planning on running the New York marathon although I’ve heard there’s some hills. Not my favourite challenge, so we will see…”

Well done Julie and Alan for all the blood, sweat and tears you have shed for Alzheimer’s Research UK and the memory of your mum.

To find out more about one of our Hair and Beauty courses please visit: www.barnsley.ac.uk/hair-and-beauty

Last updated: 22nd May 2024

Originally posted on: 22nd May 2024

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