Sierra Leone | Running for Later Life

What are you up to this weekend?

For Glennis and Modupe, an intrepid husband and wife based in southwest London, they’ll be running for  life.

Two keen athletes, the couple have held a torch for sports since their schooldays in Sierra Leone. But until recently other pursuits were on the front burner.

Glennis is a doctor or GP (general practitioner as they’re known in the United Kingdom) and Modupe is a management consultant, specializing in delivery of major infrastructure projects.  They have also spent a lot of time raising a family.

Although the three children were chips of the old block, the sport parent’s investment was mainly providing transport to and from school events. Now the children are all grown up, the couple have found themselves with a bit more time on their hands, especially at weekends and in the evenings.

So about four years ago they took up jogging in their neighborhood London park, which was very popular with runners and cyclists.  As Glennis and Modupe got their groove back, they pushed themselves to the max; first running 5km and then 10km races. In June last year they decided to take on a bigger challenge.

The 26.2 mile Edinburgh Marathon slated for Sunday, May 26 will be a stretch for the couple as they are both not natural long distance runners. And, perhaps, long past the stage for taking on the course. But if you know them you soon realize they are not the kind of people to shy away from taking on challenges.

They prepared for the race by running regularly for about two years, and built up fitness as they went.  Over the past 16 weeks, they have been on an intensive program: training three days a week with grueling 10 mile runs; followed by a gentler, medium 5-mile run and speed training in the gym.

Why run a marathon at 40 plus?

As part of their decision, the couple says they wanted to support a worthy cause. Their life stage experience has also made them realize just how challenging it is for families to care for elderly relatives whilst holding together other responsibilities―domestic and professional.

“We shall all, hopefully, get to that stage and would hope that when we get there the support we need is available,” they said.

The charity they're supporting is Age UK, which helps over five million seniors every year.  Some years ago, Age Concern and Help the Aged joined forces to become Age UK to improve later life for everyone. The issues the charity campaigns on vary from calling for reform of the care system to trying to improve the bus route in local communities. Their campaigns also offer lots of opportunities for everyone to get involved and be heard by those who have the power to make lives better.

Glennis and Modupe say, “People should care because as human[s] we express ourselves most profoundly when we demonstrate how much we care for others.”

 Donations to Age UK can be made through the Modupe and Glennis Williams Justgiving web page. They hope to raise £2,000 to support the charity.

The race, which starts in Edinburgh's city center, heads eastwards along the east Lothian coast through a number of coastal towns and villages.


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