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Third marathon for former weekly sports reporter

A former sports journalist on a weekly newspaper is gearing up to run a marathon in May with the aim of raising more than £500 for the Alzheimer’s Society.

Patrick O’Kane, left, who used to work on the Westmorland Gazette in Cumbria, has opted to raise funds for the charity after hearing stories about Alzheimers and dementia through his mother, a carer in the region.

The 29-year-old, who recently moved back to Belfast from France, is looking forward to pounding the streets of the capital having already completed marathons in Skegness and London in 2008 and 2011.

He says the work his mum has done with Alzheimers and dementia sufferers has opened his eyes to just how painful it is, not just for those with the illness, but the families and friends too.

“I have friends who have lost loved ones to the illness and the symptoms mean that as a person deteriorates, they encounter memory loss, which only makes a traumatic time even harder for families,” he told the Westmorland Gazette.

“With more than 19,400 people suffering with dementia across Northern Ireland I want to help raise the charity’s profile and show my support to their work.”

Patrick, who now works for Real-time Editing and Design, said that the run in Belfast will be quite different to London as it takes on a more undulating route.

“I picked up an injury in London after 15 miles which prevented me achieving my four hour target, so I am hoping to give it a good go and get around unscathed this time,” he added.

“I have dislocated my left knee twice in the past and am having to manage it carefully through my training but I am determined to reach my goals while also helping out a worthwhile charity.”

Dementia Friendly Communities manager Heather Lundy said: “Dementia can happen to anyone and there is currently no cure, but with the right support people can and do live well with dementia.”

To sponsor Patrick click here.