Run DMD have been ever present since the 2015 relaunch event and Gary Smith, one of the team the last two years, has shared why some of them will be back to take part in the virtual event this year.

Run DMD has been present at the Hull Marathon since 2015. It was the idea of Chris Wilkinson who is the father of Joel who has a rare muscle wasting condition Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy (DMD). In 2015 Chris and a work colleague ran the Marathon and each year it has grown.  In 2019 Samantha Brockwell a teacher at Joel’s school Kingswood Primary school, asked the local running club, Run Kingswood Run, to help support Run DMD and through family and friends support it has grown, with the support of 67 people running the Run DMD relay challenge.

Joel was diagnosed a day before his 3rd birthday in 2014 and since then his family have been raising awareness and funds to make adaptations to their family home to allow Joel to live as independently as possible with ground floor living quarters that are adapted for his needs.

What is DMD? DMD is a rare muscle wasting condition that effects approx 1 in 3600 boys. In girls it is very rare 1 in 1 million. The muscles cannot produce enough of the vital protein Dystrophin, which helps muscles repair. DMD children usually miss milestones in development and are diagnosed before primary school years. This condition affects all muscles in the body with a decline in physical abilities usually evident by ages 6-9, ambience is usually lost before teenage years and slowly loss of limb function with the lungs and heart also affected which takes these children away from their family’s way to early. At present there is no cure and it remains the number 1 genetic killer of children. There are therapies and steroids to try and elongate their functions but there are side effects to those. DMD children are extremely fragile. The condition can be passed down through the X chromosome and remain dormant in families for generations and it can also mutate spontaneously which means it can reach any family. In our case with Joel this was spontaneous with no prior family history.

Run DMD sits within Joy 4 Joel appeal supporting Joel Wilkinson and raising awareness of Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy. With the actual Marathon being cancelled this year, Gary Smith jumped at the chance at taking part in the virtual race, having ran the last 2 years since he became involved with Run DMD.  Joel and Gary’s son are at same school  “He’s such a lovely lad, life is just so unfair at times”. Last year Gary ran in a team of 2 and despite pulling his calf muscle on the Humber Bridge was motivated by the cause and his determination to finish saw him run/ hobble the reminder of the race, spurred on by the electric atmosphere and fantastic support from the great local people of Hull.

While they may be running it virtually, Run DMD are back with their teams running in the local area of Kingswood, on the north of the city, in their team tops in support of Joel.  You can add your support by pledging on their Virgin Money Giving page.

You can also sign up and run the marathon, 2 or 4 person event between 26 September and 4 October: Virtual Hull Marathon 2020 Entry