Tail End Charlie

Dyou’re a tail end Charlie? Me: Hmm?

D: I take it that you are a tail end Charlie.

Me: No. Well, I tend to fall off the back of the mid pack, or be in the front half of the back pack. I’m not usually at the very back.

D: It’s an international field?

Me: Yes.

D: When I did orienteering I was like you, but in the couple of international events I did I was the tail end Charlie.

Me: questioning look.

D: Just saying. You will probably be tail end Charlie.

Nice: thanks for the encouragement. The sound of tinkling glass followed as my dreams and aspirations lay shattered on the floor around me.

What? Do you mean that I will not being winning or setting course records?

So, another one of those conversations with D; they certainly keep my ego in check and keep me grounded.

No, it’s OK, I am only joking. I know I am slow, and am under no illusions here, although I would like to think that I will not be last. I have a bit of pride.

The Scots have a good track record with this event. Wendy MacKinnon won the first Antarctic Ice Marathon in 2006.  Dr Andrew Murray won the marathon last year (2012) setting a new course record.  He then completed 50km in Antarctica before continuing on to do a further 50km on the remaining 6 continents in under a week. Shona Thomson who completed the marathon last year has gone on to become the first Scottish woman to complete a marathon on all 7 continents.

I am in illustrious company and I cannot possibly match that, or aspire to it. It is a fact; I am a back of the pack runner. I have never had a speed, but I do have strength and endurance, and am hoping that will help me to be the first Scot to complete the double event. But this challenge is not about winning or setting records, it is about me doing the best that I can and testing my boundaries and my limits. But more than that, it is about the people who cannot do it, whose lives are devastated by a cruel and degenerative disease: people who have lost the capability of being able to such things.

A friend sent me a lovely and humbling message, and in it they wrote:

To think that every step of your marathon is dedicated to people like my father makes me admire you for your courage and your determination to see this challenge through.

I admire those that live with the disease watching their loved ones being taken away from them, but also ever more dependent upon them. That takes great courage and strength.  If I can find even a small amount of that courage and strength to complete this challenge I will be doing them proud. This is not about time or position but about finishing and dedicating that finish to all those who suffer from dementia; and hopefully, inspiring people to donate to my fundraising.

I do not know how many steps I will take, but each one will represent a dementia sufferer, and just think what could be achieved if each step were to raise £1.


A few facts about dementia

There are currently an estimated 86,0003 people with dementia in Scotland. Age is the greatest risk factor for dementia. However, there are around 3,000 people under 65 with dementia.

Overall, 67% of people with dementia are female. This is as a result of longer life expectancy and higher dementia prevalence rates in the older age groups for women.

The number of people with dementia is increasing, because the population is getting older. Based on current dementia prevalence rates, the number of people with dementia is set to double within the next 25 years.