Mandy celebrates to get ready for Marathon

Mandy Jackson our Parkinson Nurse tells how she has been inspired to take up running shoes and do the London Marathon.

For some mad reason I have always wanted to run the London Marathon, although I have never been a runner, so last April after watching a runner being supported over the finish line I decided that if I didn’t do it this year, I never would, especially as I was going to be 60 in January 2018!!

I didn’t have to think twice about which charity I wanted to run for.  It had to be Parkinson’s UK.   I had been a Parkinson’s nurse in the community for 12 months and was passionate about helping people suffering from the horrible disease. I filled the application form in on line and then had to wait 6 months to hear if I had got a place or not.  I knew that PDUK only had 80 places and that 900 people had applied so I didn’t really hold out much hope. Then one Thursday evening at the end of October I received a phone call from Jo Warner offering me a place. I was over the moon and accepted it straight away.  I had my chance to run in the London Marathon at the same time as having the chance to raise money for PDUK. I paid my registration and set up my just giving page  I panicked how I was going to possibly achieve this.  I have never been a runner. The last time I ran any sort of race was when my children were at school and I entered the “mums” race at sports day! My youngest is now 27 years old. I had just started a new job as Parkinson’s disease specialist nurse at Watford hospital and was working full time. It’s a new post and I am responsible for setting up the service from nothing. Plus I had just got two puppies to go with my other two dogs, and they all need lots of exercise.   How on earth was I going work full time, exercise my dogs,  manage the intense training and raise £2,000?

Well I started running the very next day using the Couch-5k runner app, the next day my legs hurt so much, and I had hardly actually done any running. I tried to take my 4 dogs running but had a nasty fall tripping over one of them, cutting both hands and knees badly, so that had to stop.

The first few weeks my legs hurt so much at night and I was getting terrible cramps, this really made me realise what a lot my patients were suffering on a nightly basis, but mine was self-inflicted.

But I have persevered and I am now running 5-6 times a week, I have joined a local road runners club and go out with them twice a week, I do a park run every Saturday (this week I was the fastest in my age group!! -although  I don’t know how many are in my age group ).  I have signed up for  12, 17 and 20 mile runs and the Watford half marathon in February. I’m also doing Yoga and Pilate’s classes to stretch my muscles and to relax, plus my dogs are still being walked several times a day. I have to get up at 5am to fit it all in!

Well, although it’s slow progress it is getting better each wee;, it is very hard though.  My biggest worry is how I am going to raise the £2,000! I just don’t have the time to arrange lots of fund raising events. I am relying on friends, family and colleagues.  I have arranged a fund raising night at our local rugby club in March so hopefully that will help.  I also have a few other ideas but at the moment my training is my priority.

So if any one reading this would like to help me raise and meet my target I would be very grateful for your support all proceeds go to the wonderful charity “Parkinson’s UK “that do such wonderful work for people with this awful disease. You can sponsor me by going to :-

Thank you and best wishes to you all, Mandy.

If you can help Mandy by donating something, however small please do it.