Walpole Cross Keys head set for 197-mile run

Stuart Graver will be running for charity across Norfolk.
Stuart Graver will be running for charity across Norfolk.

A headteacher will be running 197 miles around Norfolk to raise £2,000 and develop awareness of Parkinson’s disease.

Stuart Graver, who is headteacher of Walpole Cross Keys Primary School, will be tackling the challenge in May and has been inspired to do it after watching his father, Robin, battle against the condition.

Three years ago, the Graver family’s world was turned upside down when the 73-year-old was diagnosed with Parkinson’s with Lewy bodies, which is a form of dementia.

Mr Graver, with friend Jason Brannon, will be running along coastal paths and roads in Norfolk during the May half-term to highlight the disease.

Mr Graver, 47, of Lynn, said: “This is not going to make a lot of difference to my dad but I wanted to raise awareness of the whole spectrum of Parkinson’s and its conditions.

“Having seen my dad deteriorate extremely rapidly over the last two years to the point that he is now about to enter permanent residential care, I was becoming frustrated and angered at the helplessness of our situation.

“The 197 challenge is about doing something positive to counteract these negative emotions whilst raising the profile of all aspects of the ‘Parkinson’s community’ – sufferers, family members, carers and researchers.”

Parkinson’s is a progressive neurological condition which affects an estimated 127,000 in the UK. Lewy bodies are types of protein which forms in abnormal clumps in the brain.

Mr Graver’s symptoms first manifested in physical problem such as stepping over things and progressed from there.

His son said: “You see the person you know and love disappear in front of you even though they are still there.”

Mr Graver and Mr Brannon will be setting off from Lynnsport on Friday, May 23, and will be heading up the coastal path to Cromer before moving to Great Yarmouth, Norwich, Thetford and then back to Lynn.

The pair, who have already raised £1,200, are expecting to be running between 19 and 28 miles each day.

Mr Graver said: “I have run marathons before but never have I attempted to run 20-plus miles a day over a number of days. The challenge will be getting the pacing right and ensuring we recover well between runs.

“I’m very excited about it as I am any challenge, but also very conscious of the responsibility that goes with such a venture to all sponsors, to ParkinsonsUK and, of course, on a personal level to Dad.”

Anyone wishing to donate can go to www.justgiving.com/197at197 or tweet @197at197.