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MS AWARENESS WEEK April 19th-25th, 2021 – #LetsTalkMS…

MS Awareness week will run from 19th-25th April, 2021. The focus of the MS Societies Awareness Week is a chance to raise awareness of multiple sclerosis, and spread the word. #LetsTalkMS.

MS Awareness Week are saying #LetsTalkMS.

The MS Society will give you the tools to feel confident about speaking up. And share stories of how others found their voice. With your help, you can create lots of buzz on social media and in the press. #LetsTalkMS.

This year MS Awareness Week wants you to speak up about MS and the work of the MS Trust. Multiple sclerosis is a complex condition which is often misunderstood. By raising awareness of MS, and the MS Trust work supporting people living with the condition, you’ll help ensure everyone with MS gets the support and information they need.

People with M.E. disappear from society and can easily be forgotten and overlooked. The MS Trust say do it your way. Whether you are holding a bake sale or planning a party, fundraise YOUR way for people with MS. They will be there to help every step of the way.

Please share REAL stories and images far and wide between 19th-25th April.

MS in nearly three times more common in woman than men. It is also more common in countries further north or south from the equator.

Facts about MS

  • MS is a disease affecting the central nervous system (the brain and spinal cord).
  • It’s estimated that 130,000 people in the UK have MS.
  • Every week around 100 more people are diagnosed.
  • It’s nearly three times more common in women than in men.
  • Most people are diagnosed in their 20s and 30s but it can be diagnosed in younger and older people.
  • MS isn’t infectious or contagious so you can’t catch it or pass it on to other people.
  • MS is the most common condition of the central nervous system affecting young adults.
  • MS is a life long condition but it is not a terminal illness.
  • Everyone’s MS is different so no two people will have the same range and severity of symptoms, even if they are closely related.
  • MS is more common in countries further north or south from the equator.
  • MS is not inherited, but family members do have a slightly higher risk of developing MS.

What happens in MS?

Your immune system is your body’s natural defence system which helps your body fight against infections.

Your central nervous system contains nerve cells which process information and communicate messages to and from different areas of your body triggering a response, such as lifting your foot when walking or contracting the muscles in the bladder wall so you can empty your bladder.

In MS your immune system mistakenly attacks your central nervous system. When the attack happens, the immune system targets the protective covering around your nerves (called myelin). This covering is there to protect your nerves and help messages travel along them smoothly.

When myelin is damaged (called demyelination) messages don’t pass along your nerves as efficiently as they used to so messages can be delayed or sometimes may not get through at all. These areas of damage are called lesions and they cause the symptoms you experience.

After an attack your body is able to repair itself to some extent. In the earlier stages of MS, your body has the ability to replace the damaged myelin (called remyelination), although it tends to be thinner than unaffected myelin so the messages may not travel as fast as they did before. Your brain also has the ability to reroute messages to avoid an area of damage so that messages can still get through – this is known as plasticity.

MS is thought to be an autoimmune and neurodegenerative condition. Autoimmune because your body is attacking healthy cells and neurodegenerative because the loss of myelin can leave nerves exposed and more vulnerable to long-lasting damage.

Symptoms vary from person to person and from day to day. This can make your MS rather unpredictable. It’s completely normal for it to take some time to adjust and adapt to this unpredictability going forward in your life.

Some of the most common symptoms around the time of diagnosis are fatigue (a kind of exhaustion which is out of all proportion to the task undertaken), unusual feelings in your skin (such as pins and needles, numbness or burning), problems with eyesightmemory and thinking problems, and walking difficulties (such as tripping, stumbling, weakness or a heavy feeling in your legs).

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After Boris eased lockdown restrictions, it fired the starting gun to boost mental health for millions. Last week, one of the sector’s governing bodies, England Athletics, published guidelines giving event organisers an official ‘green light’ to start staging organised races again, provided they are “Covid-secure”.

Co-founder of RunThrough Matt Wood, staged a very successful events day at Kempton Park on Saturday where 500 runners completed 5k, 10h, half marathon and marathon events. The website traffic on RunThrough was up 100% as runners stretched their legs, head outdoors and re-connected with race friends after the lock lockdown misery.

  • 7 million people across UK (almost one in 10) turned to running or jogging to care for their mental health during Covid crisis, Macmillan Cancer Support survey revealed last month
  • One in seven in UK (14%) told charity that going running or jogging had helped them to de-stress since the first lockdown last March
  • 43% of UK runners exercising more now than before pandemic; 82% of UK runners say running plays a key role in helping them clear their mind during lockdown, according to survey by top running brand ASICS
  • RunThrough’s first 2021 Covid-secure events attracted 500 runners on Easter Saturday April 3 when 5k, 10k, half marathon and marathon events were staged at Kempton Park racecourse.
  • BBC Television attended Kempton Park to report on RunThrough’s return event day, broadcasting live to 6 million viewers on BBC One’s ‘Breakfast’ show

The leading mass-participation running events and endurance sports organiser also announced plans to help host 200 races during the next year – a welcome Easter treat for Britain’s estimated 7 million runners.

Matt Wood, RunThrough’s Co-Founder and a former International distance runner, said: “This is the brilliant news our community have all been waiting for.

“After last year’s lockdown, between August and December, we put on around 25% of all races in the UK, with Covid awareness measures in place. We’ve gained more experience than any other UK events company in staging events in this safe way.

“Now, after people have been cooped up in lockdown for months, huge pent-up demand from runners has built up. We’ve seen a major surge in bookings for our 2021 events calendar and our website traffic has shot up by over 100%.”

RunThrough Founders Matt Wood and Ben Green pioneered their ‘Covid Safety Protocol’ last autumn involving 20 strict measures ensuring runners and race marshals stayed safe.

RunThrough Covid-Safe Race video here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9WIvVUGNWNk

A Bit About Matt Wood…
Matt Wood, 34, an ex-England track athlete, who before lockdown staged 136 UK events in 2019 attracting  122,000 runners, added: “This year, we’re expecting our 200 events to attract between 150,000-180,000 people.

“Last year, we developed a blueprint for Covid-safe races. Before race day, to reduce contact, we sent out race packs to runners early so participants can arrive ‘ready-to-race’. When people arrive at our race village, they are greeted by marshals, some wearing full-face visors and all wearing PPE.

“As well as face shields, our staff also wear gloves to reduce the risk of germ transmission. We have sanitiser stations with hand gels and runners are discouraged from bringing belongings so we can reduce contact with others in baggage areas.”

RunThrough, who as well as staging mass-participation races also organise some of the fastest road-closed events in the UK involving elite athletes and regional championships, have employed other Covid-safe measures including:

  • Runners are encouraged to bring their own water bottles to eliminate the need for water stations
  • Group pre-race warmups are conducted at a socially safe distance
  • Marshals are briefed to maintain distance from runners while keeping the same friendly relationship
  • Queues for the toilet cabin facilities are distanced and cubicle hygiene
  • Signs remind runners to observe a 2-metre social distance and no spitting is allowed
  • At support desks, waist-high plastic sheeting protects stewards and runners from getting too close
  • At the start runners line up at coloured cones are laid out at distances on the ground

“Our starts are staggered and runners are guided to set off in waves of 4 to 6 to ease congestion,” added Wood. “And fast runners are asked to give slower participants space when overtaking, of around 2 metres.

RunThrough Events was founded in 2013 by Matt Wood and Ben Green. They began their friendship in their teens at  school exactly 20 years ago and went on to both become International distance runners. Today, powered by their experience as ex-England track athletes and their shared passion for running, RunThrough has grown to become one of the UK’s largest and most popular running event organisers.

During their last full year operating before Covid, RunThrough staged 140 events across the UK, attracting more than 140,000 runners. This year, as lockdown eases, they already have 200 events booked in.

RunThrough have staged events at many prestigious locations, including popular London venues such as Hyde Park, Greenwich Park, Regents Park, Clapham Common, Richmond Park and Battersea Park, as well as Hampton Court Palace, Knebworth House, Colchester Zoo, Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park and Thorpe Park. They also collaborate with other major UK tourist attractions such as Aintree Racecourse, Tatton Park, Media City and many more.

Business duo Matt and Ben (Matt’s one year younger) work together closely as entrepreneurs. But as runners, they’re close rivals. Matt, who won an athletics scholarship to study Sports & Exercise Science at Loughborough University and also completed a Law Conversion Diploma in Law, frustratingly saw his pro career cut short in 2007 when he suffered a stress injury, breaking his femur. After surgery, and a plaster cast, he hobbled on crutches for six months.

In 2015, Ben, who also studied at Loughborough, had his own spectacular break. He broke the Guinness World Record at the London Marathon for the fastest father / son time, Ben running 2.30 and his Dad 2.31. Ben, from Warrington (Matt hails from Blackburn), now enjoys taking part in RunThrough events on a regular basis.

One of RunThrough’s missions is to encourage the promotion of active health in the UK and, by staging more than a thousand races over the years, they have made a major positive impact on their growing community. They are also proud to have raised money for a number of charities along the way.

The vibrant, health-conscious team behind RunThrough focus all their efforts on ensuring that runners who attend their events enjoy the experience, whether they’re getting a buzz from taking part in their first-ever event, chasing a Personal Best (PB), are taking part to benefit from boosting their physical health and mental wellbeing, or just want to enjoy the occasion socially and make new friends. For more details on events happening throughout this year head to the RunThrough’s website.

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