Support our work Why fundraise for us? Because you can help us protect older people from abuse, neglect and crimes that too often go unpunished. The impact of abuse on an older person is profound. It can leave them traumatised, and it can end their life prematurely. We have to change this. In our latest public poll 9.3% of older people said they were experiencing abuse or neglect, but over 25% of relatives said they knew it was happening to a loved one. This means that right now across the UK there are at least 1 million older people suffering elder abuse. That’s a horrendous thought. We depend heavily on people like you to fund our work with older people, to help challenge elder abuse. No one should end their lives in pain and suffering. We need your help to change that. On the 22 April 2018, Emily Okwe- Pearson ran the London Marathon on our behalf, here is recount of what is was like, hopefully this will inspire you to help us : I had the most fantastic experience at the London Marathon 2018. The event was superbly organised from my perspective and the crowds that lined the streets were just incredible. After mingling in the runners’ enclosure in Greenwich Park, sharing stories, causes and nerves with my fellow runners, we watched the Queen start the race on big screens. My Zone, Red 3, eventually got going at around 10.15am, shortly after the elite athletes. I had planned my running ensemble, wind rain or shine, months ago and I was initially quite glad for some sun to make my choice of shorts a wise one. The first 10 miles was controlled and I tried my best to stay calm. The air of camaraderie was palpable and I was fortunate to be able to find my pace with a great group of runners very early on. It was essential to hold back and not take on the first part with too much gusto. This was the pace that I planned to hold for the duration after all. I have always trained with earphones and music, but the crowds - that in parts seemed infinitely deep - were the best soundtrack for the day. The Cutty Sark was the first big highlight. The spectators really did roar as we swept round the hull of the ship. The water stops at every mile were lengthy and well-stocked when I went past. I took every opportunity to grab a small bottle of water, take a sip or two, and douse my head, hair and shoulders with the rest. Even though it was a soggy existence for 26.2 miles, I think this is the one tactic that meant my body temperature was somewhat under control in the 24 degree heat. Crossing Tower Bridge at Mile 13 was the next big milestone. It looked stunning with the backdrop of a cloudless sky and again the crowds elevated the occasion. I checked my pace and it was steady. I was half way through and feeling good. I knew friends were planning to line the course and it was such a lift to see familiar faces cheering me on. My Mum’s last piece of advice to me was ‘smile and enjoy it’. When the going got tough I remembered those words and having ironed on my name to my AEA vest, it seemed the crowd were ALL on my side. ‘Come on, Emily!’, ‘You can do it, Emily!’ ‘Looking great, Emily!’ turned into a chorus, which never felt repetitive. My pace maintained. The Mile 17-18 stretch through the Isle of dogs was the toughest for me. The sun was out in full force and the hot tarmac felt like it was cooking me through the soles of my feet. I didn’t find the mist showers all that helpful but stuck with my sip and douse technique. My pace was slipping. I did some quick maths to work out what I needed to do to keep on my finish time of under 4 hours. There is a blue dashed line on the route that is the “real” 26.2 mile marker. If you were to follow this line, you would trace the exact marathon distance, however, if you sway away - even slightly - you’re likely adding extra distance to your efforts. It was nigh-on impossible to stick to the blue line without cutting up your fellow runners’ paths. I was on track with my pace but I was covering too much distance to make it count. I worked out that a sub 4 hour time was still possible…so long as I didn’t give up. At that stage I told myself that as my goal was firmly in my grasp, if I didn’t make it, I’d have to do the whole marathon process again in order to achieve it. As much as I’ve enjoyed training, that simply wasn’t an option. All those people who have donated to AEA and supported me in my first marathon attempt didn’t do that on the basis that I would quit. Ever. My reserves kicked in and my pace returned. Canary Wharf provided some welcome shady relief heading into Mile 19. It was here where the casualties started becoming very clear. Many runners were receiving treatment from St John Ambulance as well as spectators, and some looked to be in a very bad way. It was upsetting to see and hugely counter-intuitive to carry on running. I only did so knowing they were getting treated by other and likely more competent people than myself. My final countdown started at Mile 20 where the psychological gameplay began and I started to dig deep. I had mantras from my ‘mileage partners’ playing like records in my head. I hadn’t managed to see my boyfriend at any stage, but when I caught sight of him at a quiet spot on Poplar High Street, without stopping, I bee-lined for a rather sweaty peck and to receive a few essential words of encouragement. That was the rocket fuel for the last stretch. I believe the last 6 miles was only possible because I held back for the first 6 miles. This was unchartered territory for me, and I felt at times like I was racing down Embankment with some sort of inner cruise control enabled. When I spotted Big Ben, I did another time check and now confident of my finish time, lapped up the atmosphere with the crowds going wild. Crossing that finish line was pure euphoria. My head felt light and my body equally as heavy. I have never felt self-pride like it and if I hadn’t been so dehydrated I am sure tears of joy would have flowed! Back at our base just 10 minutes from the finish line, I was militant in my recovery plan- brisk walk in the swimming pool, stretching in the steam room, shower and foam roll. My appetite wasn’t huge but I managed a small snack, and then a HUGE helping of fish&chips (with extra salt!) on arrival home. I haven’t managed to have a celebratory glass of something fizzy yet…but it will be a very cheap evening when I do! It was an absolute privilege to run the London Marathon yesterday on behalf of AEA and I cannot thank you enough for the opportunity. Ways to help us: You can make a donation or take part in a challenge event and ask your friends and family to sponsor you. Or you can get your company involved or organise your own event. There’s lot’s you can do!