The AKU Society’s office is based in the beautiful city of Cambridge, and on 28th February we were lucky enough to have nine brave supporters taking part in the Cambridge Half Marathon for AKU! We are thrilled to announce that in total they raised a huge £2,427, which will all be going towards helping patients attend our first International Patient Workshop in April. In this week’s blog, our Fundraising Officer, Lydia, tells us more about how the day went.

It was an early start, and along with 7000 other runners the AKU team congregated on Midsummer Common to warm up and take their places at the start line. The weather couldn’t have been better – bright, crisp and cold. The atmosphere was buzzing, with all the runners and their supporters nervously awaiting the start. Before we knew it the runners were off and I made my way into town to cheer and encourage them on!

The 13.1 miles took them past the spectacular sights of Cambridge; starting at Victoria Avenue and heading through the centre of town, past Magdalene, St Johns, King’s, Pembroke and Peterhouse colleges before heading past the Fitzwilliam Museum and out into the country to the village of Grantchester. The route then looped back and brought them back into the centre of town, along the river and the backs of Clare, Trinity and King’s colleges, before a glorious finish on Midsummer common!

Hopefully the picturesque views provided some distraction from the pain and exhaustion they were no doubt feeling, and the pavements were lined with enthusiastic supporters cheering them on.

Karen and Gary were first to come past in the fastest group, both with a lot of previous running experience and Gary even beat his previous personal best. Jack, Anna, Zara were not far behind them, and Hannah was in her stride, treating this half marathon as part of her training for the full London Marathon in April! This was Kate’s second half marathon and she did fantastically well, as did Ceit and Rowan for whom this was the longest distance they had ever run.

As well as raising a fantastic amount of money, our runners also raised awareness of AKU. They were all wearing our new customised running vests and Ceit even had someone ask her about the genetics of AKU half way around the course!

Oliver, Nick and I were at the finish line with our AKU banner to celebrate and thank our runners at the end of the run. They were tired but in high spirits, and we gave them all a personalised AKU goody bag and certificate. They all said how much they enjoyed the day and we would like to say a huge thank you to them for choosing to run and fundraise for the AKU Society.

Thanks to them we have been able to offer more support to patients from around the world to come to the UK and attend our first ever International Patient Workshop, April 2016. Many of these patients do not have access to the specialist advice or information they need to manage their AKU, due to a lack of knowledge about the condition in their country. We are therefore hosting a workshop to give them information on pain management, AKU research, nutrition, mental health and exercise. It will also be a brilliant chance for them to meet other AKU patients and form a supportive AKU community.

It’s not too late to donate to our runners and show your appreciation for their efforts! Or, if you have been inspired by them why not take on your own fundraising challenge on behalf of the AKU Society? We have lots of events in the pipeline including a comedy night, cycle ride and Spartan race, so contact to find out more and register your interest!