Supporting us - Mark Ashley's story
Mark Ashley, 51, who has Parkinson's, tells us why running the
London Marathon for Parkinson's UK is
the best thing he's ever done.
Running the marathon
I'm dedicated to raising funds for vital research while raising awareness of the condition. It helps me make sense of why I've got Parkinson's.
"I'd never done much running or sport, but decided to sign up to
the London Marathon to raise money for Parkinson's UK.
"I did the first half of the London Marathon in 2 and a half
hours without stopping, but by 18 miles I was in all sorts of pain.
That must be what hitting the wall feels like. I lost 3 or 4 miles
– I don't remember them at all – but then I noticed the 22 mile
marker and realised I was nearly there.
"People on the Embankment were calling out: 'Come on, you can do
it'. That was immense.
"For 2 days afterwards I could barely walk. My muscles ached so
much, but otherwise I was OK.
It's emotional when there are people shouting out your name, people you don't even know cheering you on.
"When I found out I had Parkinson's the diagnosis seemed
devastating. In the cold light of day, it's an incurable
"On the other hand, I was relieved to put a label on it. It
meant I could get on with life, and start plugging into the local
"I've been lucky not to have the mobility issues that affect
some people with Parkinson's, though it feels like I'm always
fighting an uphill battle to keep fit.
"To ease my symptoms I started going along to pilates classes at
my local Parkinson's group. I was there when someone brought in an
advert for the Peterborough Half Marathon. I raised a total of
£1,200 for Parkinson's UK.
"Then I thought, if I can do that, I can do a full marathon too.
Running the London Marathon was the best thing I'd ever done.
Dedicated to raising funds and awareness
"The training and fundraising has helped my fitness and gives me
something to focus on.
"I'm dedicated to raising funds for vital research while raising
awareness of the condition. It helps me make sense of why I've got