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Doc Dave’s Half Marathon Blog



Drs Nicholl

As Birmingham prepares for the World Half Marathon championships later this week, David Nicholl reports how the real winners will not be the athletes at the front but the charity runners slogging it at the back- himself amongst them.

Although my running exploits have usually had a bit of a political edge, this one is quite different, and somewhat personal.

I must have had over £250,000 in research funds from the Parkinson's Disease Society over the last 10 years for various projects to do with the genetics of Parkinson's Disease, which I have been researching since my PhD.

In addition I run (excuse the pun) a course to train trainee neurologists and other doctors about Parkinson's Disease. However I have always felt that the research, so have never sought to raise money.

When last year my Dad (himself a doctor, now retired) developed Parkinson's disease, it seemed like it was payback time. I wouldn't be alive if it wasn't for my Dad's anaesthetic skills when I nearly gassed myself as a child.

Likewise my Dad helped me tremendously by collecting control samples for my PhD project - funded in part through the Parkinson's Disease Society.

I have signed up to donate my brain (when I've stopped using it) to help Parkinson's disease research. Thus I perhaps know more than most how costly and time-consuming this research is - more than most people can imagine.

But what really hit a nerve was a throw away comment of my Dad’s - he was slightly underdosed with his medication, and I suggested that he take an extra tablet. Quick as a flash my Dad replied “I’ll wait until I see my neurologist in a few months time, David”. “Fair enough” I smiled to myself “at least one person knows where to put me in my place!”

So on Sunday, I’ll be lining up with the thousands of other runners for a fantastic day and hopefully raising a fair bit of cash for the Parkinson’s Disease Society in its 40th year.

The Birmingham Half marathon is on Sunday 11th October. If you want to sponsor David Nicholl go to

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