A MAN will be running the equivalent of eight Parkrun courses over 24 hours in memory of his wife, who died from early onset dementia.

John Hirst, from Stockton, lost his wife Pat in 2017 after she was diagnosed with Frontotemporal Dementia aged 66.

On September 6 2019, also World Alzheimers Month, Mr Hirst will turn 66 years, seven months and five days old - the exact age reached by his wife - and wanted to commemorate the day by completing a challenge to raise funds and awareness for Alzheimer’s Research UK.

Beginning at 10am from Workington, Mr Hirst will be completing each course along the A66 which is used as a Parkrun.

He will be stopping at Whinlatter Forest, Keswick, Penrith, Darlington South Park, Billingham Juniors, Tees Barrage, Albert Park in Middlesbrough before completing the final leg of his challenge 24 hours later at the official Parkrun in Redcar at 9am on September 7.

Speaking about his challenge, Mr Hirst said: “My wife was diagnosed with Frontotemporal Dementia in 2012, 18 months after her retirement as a nurse in the NHS.

"Following her diagnosis her decline was rapid resulting in loss of speech, an inability to swallow and for the final months she was forced to use a wheelchair.

"Throughout her ordeal she was always able to recognise us all and was aware until very close to the end of her life.”

Mr Hirst is aiming to raise £1,000 which will help fund dementia research in the North-East.

He added: “Since her diagnosis I have been helping to raise awareness of early onset dementia and also to raise funds for Alzheimer’s Research UK.

"It's the UK’s leading dementia research charity dedicated to understanding the causes, diagnosis, prevention and treatment of dementia.”

Claire Priestwood, North-East Regional Fundraising Officer at Alzheimer’s Research UK, said: “Dementia affects a significant proportion of the population – one in three people over 65 in the UK will die with some form of the condition.

“That is why we are determined to help scientists discover new treatments and find ways of tackling the diseases that cause dementia.

"We can’t do this without the support of our wonderful fundraisers.”