On Sunday August 1, Katherine Marlow, Doctoral Researcher at the University of Birmingham completed the London Landmarks Half Marathon for children’s charity, Cerebra, raising over £400. The charity, which supports children with a brain condition and their families is a cause close to Katherine’s heart, as her role at the University is part of the Cerebra Network for Neurodevelopmental Disorders.

“Cerebra is a fantastic cause and beyond ‘the day job’ I am honoured to find another way to support the charity through this campaign,” said Katherine, when asked why she was running for Cerebra. “I love a challenge and dedicating myself to something, so when I heard about the opportunity to sign-up, I decided to run with it (if you pardon the pun).”


The University of Birmingham has, for a number of years, worked in collaboration with Cerebra to develop a world-leading research programme, central to improving the lives of children with severe and complex needs and their families. Birmingham is one of four universities, including Aston, that form the Cerebra Network, driving research to help the charity achieve its aim for all children to have the maximum opportunity to achieve and participate in society.

Since the first national lockdown in March last year, Katherine and her colleagues have had to swap the lab for their home and adapt the way they work. Their research is now fully remote and conducted safely and effectively despite ongoing Covid-imposed restrictions.

Katherine is currently working on the Sleep-Impulsivity Behaviour study, research aiming to understand self-injurious behaviour in autistic children with intellectual disability - a group that’s often been overlooked across previous research studies, despite accounting for around 244,000 children in the UK. Public support is crucial to help fund this type of research and so as soon as Katherine found out about the London Landmarks Half Marathon, she leapt at the chance to take part and find another way to help children and their families.

She never run a half marathon before, but that wasn’t going to stop her and she crossed the finish line in 2 hours and 25 minutes. she adds: “all in all it was definitely VERY hard but I’m really pleased to say I managed to keep running the entire race, and had a really good time doing so (smiling through the pain haha).”

Katherine hopes that her fantastic efforts will help to increase awareness of the importance of this research and also raise vital funds to drive future studies. It’s these types of research programmers that inform the health and social care advice and support, which Cerebra delivers to children with a brain condition and their families on a daily basis, all across the country.