Mother to run 13 miles inspired by autistic daughter

Sophie Walker with daughter Grace.

Sophie Walker with daughter Grace.

First published in News Times Series: Photograph of the Author by

A MOTHER whose daughter endured bullying due to autism is running a half marathon to raise money for other sufferers.

Sophie Walker, 40, of Avondale Avenue, North Finchley, has been in training for the Royal Parks Half Marathon, which will see her do a circuit of major parks in central London.

Her daughter Grace struggled for five years with autism and Asperger's syndrome before she was diagnosed for the first time last year.

Ms Walker said: “For years Grace struggled to make friends and understand topics like maths at school.

“Bullying was a big problem and she would often come home in tears. In the end getting the formal diagnosis was a huge relief. It helped Grace to understand that she wasn’t stupid or badly behaved.

“It was great for her to be able to finally describe her condition and share with others what it means for her.”

Since the diagnosis she says Grace’s school has been supportive but she is now running not just to raise money but to raise awareness as well.

She said: “It was a huge shock to discover how little people know and understand about autism. I worked off a lot of frustration running.”

The gruelling 13 mile slog starts and finishes at Hyde Park and takes in St James's Park, Green Park and Kensington Gardens along the way.

She has already raised £900 towards her £1,000 target for the National Autism Society.

To read about Ms Walker’s challenge read her blog or to sponsor her click here.

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