FIVE years ago Annette Ablitt couldn’t jog 100m without having to stop.
But now the determined mum is taking on one of the world’s most famous races, the London Marathon, in memory of her late partner and the father of her two children.
Craig McConnachie died at the age of 53 last year from a cruel genetic condition he was born with, Huntington’s Disease.
The neurological disorder takes hold over several years and robs the sufferer of the ability to think, walk, talk and eat.
The couple’s daughter Clare McConnachie was the overall winner of last year’s Youth Awards at The News after she cared for her dying father, all the while volunteering at her local Brownies and Portsmouth Victoria Synchronised Swimming Club.
Annette, who lives in Tregaron Avenue, Drayton, wants to raise awareness about Huntington’s and will be wearing a running vest with the poignant words ‘Hunting for a Cure’.
The 54-year-old said: ‘It is a very complex condition and the Huntington’s Disease Association is the only charity that helps families affected.
‘Every child born to a parent with HD has a 50 per cent chance of inheriting the condition. There is no cure.
‘They help those with the condition and their families, those at risk of inheriting the condition and those who have taken the test know they are positive but yet to show symptoms.’
Annette said the work of the care adviser covering the Portsmouth area is ‘invaluable’ at supporting families.
And the member of Portsmouth Joggers said: ‘Since Christmas BBC’s Casualty has had a storyline about two doctors who are brothers who discover their mother has HD.
‘It is much-needed publicity for a condition that gets little air time, although it is more common than motor neurone disease.’
Annette, who works at St Wilfrid’s Hospice in Chichester, said running had been her lifeline during an immensely difficult time.
She added: ‘I started running to help me deal with Craig’s illness – to get physically fit to help look after him, work full-time and look after two teenagers.’