A BUSINESSMAN from South Tyneside has become a real-life Forrest Gump after running 1,000km during the last 100 days.
Kenneth Reader decided to give himself the challenge of running 10km a day for 100 days to raise cash for Alzheimer’s Society in memory his uncle, Solly Reader.
Yesterday, the 26-year-old completed his 100th run, and has so far managed to generate £8,500 for the charity.
Kenneth, who is manager of The Dunes entertainment complex in South Shields, said: “I decided to take part in this challenge for Alzheimer’s Society to remember my uncle, Solly, who died four years ago after suffering with Alzheimer’s.
‘It made me realise what a shattering disease dementia can be, because he used to be the life and soul of the party, but Alzheimer’s robbed him of his vibrant personality.
“Sol was a really nice bloke, and I thought I should do my bit to fight dementia in his memory.
“But I wanted to do something with a bit of longevity, so I came up with this 10km a day for 100 days, so I’d be running 1,000km in total.” Kenneth has been fitting his runs in whenever he can, including while on a business trip in Spain.
His colleagues have likened him to Tom Hanks’ character from the 1994 film Forrest Gump, who decided to embark on a three-year run across America.
However, they’ve all been out supporting him on his jogs, which take about 45 minutes to complete.
Kenneth, who lives in Durham, said: “It’s been really good, lots of family and friends have come out with me – mind, if I have company, I tend to slow down a bit.
“I’ve also been dressing up in various things, including a sumo wrestler costume and a Sunderland shirt – that was painful, believe me, since I am a Newcastle fan!”
Kenneth had originally aimed to raise £6,000, but has now set his sights on £10,000, which he hopes to achieve within the next few days.
Rebecca Scott, Newcastle-based Alzheimer’s Society’s community fundraising officer, is delighted with Kenneth’s efforts.
She said: “‘It’s great that Kenneth is giving his time to support Alzheimer’s Society.
“One in three people over 65 will develop dementia. It is more than just memory loss; it robs people of their lives, and has a devastating impact on families and loved ones.
“As a charity, we rely on the generosity of individuals like Kenneth to help us continue our vital work so that the Alzheimer’s Society can continue leading the fight against dementia.”
To sponsor Kenneth, visit his JustGiving pagege HERE.