RW marathon 1

Source: Iceland / Alzheimer’s Research UK

Walker is running alongside Iceland colleague Simon Felstead

Iceland Foods’ executive chairman Richard Walker is to run the 2024 London Marathon, in his latest charitable effort to raise funds for Alzheimer’s Research UK.

Walker, who is also an ambassador of the charity, is running in memory of his late mother, Lady Rhianydd Walker, who was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s in 2011 and passed away in 2021. He’s joining fellow Iceland colleague Simon Felstead in tackling the 26.2 mile course for Iceland’s charitable foundation.

The run, which will take place on Sunday 21 April, comes less than a year after Walker summited Mount Everest, in the process helping Iceland’s charitable arm raise a collective £1.1m for dementia care.

“Dementia devastated my family and robbed my mother of some of the most precious years of her life,” Walker said.

“I know nothing I can do will replace what we’ve lost, but I can’t rest knowing this condition is causing the same heartbreak to other families. We must find a way to stop dementia, which is why I’m proud to be an ambassador for Alzheimer’s Research UK, and taking on the London Marathon next month in support of this vital cause. I hope by doing this, I can raise much-needed awareness to support research efforts.”

Despite his mountain exploits, this is Walker’s first attempt to run a marathon. 

“I know running the marathon won’t be easy, especially as I’ve only recently signed up and I’m behind where I should be with training! But all the effort to get to race day, and then to the finish line, will be so worth it because we will be taking a step closer towards a cure for dementia,” he added.

Hilary Evans, CEO of Alzheimer’s Research UK, said the charity was “grateful” to all runners competing in the event for the charity.

“Thanks to the unwavering support of people like Richard, and organisations like Iceland Foods Charitable Foundation, Alzheimer’s Research UK will change the ending for everyone affected by dementia. It’s a matter of when, not if. We can’t wait to cheer on Richard and everyone else taking part for Alzheimer’s Research UK the day – good luck!”

Walker and Felstead are fundraising via a JustGiving page. The pair have not set a specific fundraising target, but aim to finish the marathon in less than four hours. 

The Iceland pair are not the only grocery figures to enter the event in recent years. In 2023, Aldi UK MD Graham Hetherington and group MDs Dan Ronald and Oliver King donned a giant three-person Cuthbert the Caterpillar Cake costume to raise funds for the Teenage Cancer Trust.