I work as a Deputy Manager for Griffin Lodge, a residential care home for adults with complex needs, challenging behaviours and learning difficulties.

Two of our residents, Jake and Penny, used to attend a running club in Stockport which was set up for adults with disabilities, but unfortunately the club ceased to exist due to lack of funding.

Jake and Penny really enjoyed their running so we wanted this to continue in the best way possible.

We initially purchased a treadmill for the care home so they could still enjoy their running; Penny at times can spend over 40 minutes running on the treadmill.

I saw the Mencap Heaton Park Run advertised on Facebook and thought what a great cause to run for and also for Jake and Penny to take part in. The staff actively encouraged Jake and Penny to train for the run with gradually increasing times on the treadmill, and we even bought a new pair of running shoes for both Jake and Penny to take part in the event.

In the week before the event both Jake and Penny went for runs around local parks with supporting staff. 

Feeling inspired?

If Darren's story has inspired you, why not sign up for the Run Heaton Park 2019 event?


We arrived on the day, signed in, put our numbers on our pink t-shirts and joined the warm up. The smile on Penny's face was great to see and to know she was really enjoying herself was great.

Penny has little communication and we can tell when she is happy from expressions on her face. During the run she gave us lots of smiles.

Jake enjoyed the warm up, joining in with all the exercises with lots of smiles and also singing along at times.

He thoroughly enjoyed the run especially the cake in the goody bag at the end of the event! Jake's medal is now hanging proudly in his room.

The event was well organised and I would thoroughly recommend anyone to attend. It's for such a great cause too!

Find out more

Has Darren's story inspired you? If so, you can sign up for next year's Run Heaton Park event now!

We have 5km and 10km running events all over the UK - in London Greenwich ParkCardiff Bute ParkBirmingham Sutton Park and London Hyde Park. Get involved and join #TeamMencap, go for a personal best time, or just take in the sights and scenery of some of the UK’s most iconic parks

Or, if you fancy something else, why not take a look at our Events pages? There's lot of different things for you to get involved in and try to raise some money to help support our work improving the lives of people with a learning disability.

If you have any questions, you can also speak to our Events Team: