Scott Mitchell says thinking about his wife Dame Barbara Windsor will “hopefully get me round when things start to hurt” as he tackles his first marathon.
Mitchell will run the Virgin Money London Marathon on April 28 – his 56th birthday – to raise money for Dementia Revolution, a year-long campaign formed by dementia charities Alzheimer’s Society and Alzheimer’s Research UK, which is the event’s charity of the year.
Dame Barbara, 81, who became a household name in Carry On films and playing pub landlady Peggy Mitchell in EastEnders, was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease in 2014.
“I’m really nervous but also excited,” said Mitchell.
“It seems like fate as it will actually be my 56th birthday. I took that as a sign that I had to go for it.”
Mitchell is running as part of the Barbara’s Revolutionaries team which also features EastEnders cast members past and present including Jake Wood (who plays Max Branning), Adam Woodyatt (Ian Beale), Emma Barton (Honey Mitchell), Kelly Shirley (Carly Wicks), Tanya Franks (Rainie Cross), Jamie Borthwick (Jay Brown), Natalie Cassidy (Sonia Fowler) and Jane Slaughter (Queen Vic barmaid Tracey).
“I never thought I’d run a marathon, I’d never run before,” said Mitchell.
“As the oldest person in the group, I’m surprised at how much I’ve progressed.
“For me it is more about completing the marathon, no matter what the time, to show my support for Barbara and all the 850,000 other people living with dementia across the country.”
“I have enjoyed running much more than I thought I would and I’m only disappointed I didn’t discover it sooner,” said Mitchell.
“I’ve made time for my training and find it really helps me clear my head.
“It’s been hard at times with illness but you just have to persevere and remember why you’re doing it.”
“I’m nervous about the day but I know the atmosphere will be incredible, and thinking about Barbara will hopefully get me round when things start to hurt.
“I can’t wait to catch up with the Barbara’s Revolutionaries at the end of the race, and, of course, to see Barbara.
“It will be a very special day for me. If I complete this, and I’m praying that I do, it’ll be the only time in my life I ever achieve anything like this.
“I’m going to try and enjoy it as much as I can.”
Wood, who announced he had joined Barbara’s Revolutionaries on April 18, praised Dame Barbara and her husband for raising awareness of dementia by going public about her problems.
The Dementia Revolution campaign aims “to power groundbreaking dementia research, overthrow old attitudes and lead the charge towards a cure”.
Barbara’s Revolutionaries can be sponsored at https://uk.virginmoneygiving.com/Barbarasrevolutionaries.