Chris Jarry

My name is Chris Jarry and I am 39 and approaching 40 with increasing pace (would be good if the running was doing the same!) and I am going to be running the Brighton Marathon in April 2018 for the National Autistic Society.
I have always said I would like (''like'' may not be the best word for what is to be a no doubt painful challenge) to complete a marathon and even better to do it before I hit 40. When you tell people you are running a marathon the assumption is that you will be running the London or New York one. I did originally apply for the London Marathon but was unsuccessful and then was offered the chance to enter the Brighton Marathon. I did not hesitate as it is still a marathon and it is also in a nice location (I am more of a sea - not city - person, although living in central beds I could not be that much further from the coast!).

The main drive for taking part is our son Jack. He is nearly 5 years old now and was diagnosed with ASD in December 2016. Jack is a very smiley boy with an infectious laugh (and a freakishly long tongue that he can nearly get to the top of his nose!) and loves riding his bike and anything car related. The flip-side is that Jack is susceptible to ‘meltdowns’ and it can still be very difficult to find ways to calm him down and prevent him from hurting himself or others when these occur. He does struggle with some speech and has delayed learning which we struggled with getting to grips with (and still do) but have had a lot of help from our local school and groups, along with information and guidance from the NAS.

With our help this charity can continue to do the good work and reach more people and improve the chances of things like early diagnoses, what to do next and things like employment opportunities for adults young and old with ASD/Asperger syndrome.

I am looking forward to the day itself although there is a certain amount of ‘what have I signed up for’ moments during training. I started running properly in November and my full plan kicked in on 28 January 2018. I really would love to be able to say I completed a full marathon and am not aiming to break records with my time but whatever time I do achieve it will be a PB!


Samantha Cobbing

I have decided to take part in the Brighton Marathon again after saying last year that it was the hardest thing I had ever done in my life! I figured that if my boys struggle every day because of Autism then I can struggle through 26.2 miles for just one day to raise some money for the National Autistic Society.
I am once again fund raising for the National Autistic Society as they are such a valuable resource of information and support for many families. They are also heading many campaigns to get people talking about autism and helping the general public to know a bit more about it. It is a charity close to my heart because of my wonderful boys Jenson, Oliver and Tobias. Oliver is diagnosed with autism, Jenson is awaiting assessment for autism and ADHD and Tobias is (as far as we know) neurotypical.

Thanks to the National Autistic Society I have been able to attend a course that has provided me with the best skills to support my boys and the things that they have difficulty with. They have such wonderful story books that start the discussion to tell your child they have autism and great supportive books for siblings. So please, if you can help and donate to such a wonderful cause it will inspire me to get around that 26.2 mile course!


Sandra Johnson

Hi, my name is Sandra and 26 months ago I weighed 289lb (20st 9lb) and couldn't walk across the room without the aid of crutches. Taking the first step to walk in to a gym was incredibly hard, I find going to new places and speaking to new people incredibly difficult. You see, as well as being overweight, I also live with Asperger’s syndrome (high functioning autism) and struggle with changes to routine and anything new. Although I wasn't diagnosed at that point I knew I was "different" and had known it since childhood.

After that first visit to the gym I steadily gained confidence in going, started to lose weight and discovered a love of exercise. In July 2016 I entered my first 5k (race 4 life) and despite the fact I walked more than I ran, I found something that helped me deal with my anxiety. By March 2017 I'd lost around 100lb and entered my first 10k, still walking more than running. Then I entered a trail half-marathon, running a little more than walking, before entering a road half-marathon where I actually ran most of the way, only walking for the final half km.

I'd discovered something I enjoyed doing, but also something I found challenging.  After that half I decided that my next challenge had to be a full marathon and as with many others I applied for a ballot place for London while looking at other marathons - Brighton being high on my list. 

As for who I was going to fundraise for - being autistic myself as well as having children on the spectrum - it was always going to be the National Autistic Society. I'll admit I do struggle with getting myself out there with fundraising but I am getting there with the help of the people who know and support me.


Brendan Griffin-Ryan

Fundraiser Brendan Griffin-Ryan and his two children I have never really attempted anything for charity before, so I've surprised myself by doing this. I will be running the Brighton Marathon in April for the National Autistic Society. I'm running for the amazing work they do helping autistic people and their families and raising awareness of autism.

From a personal perspective I'm also running for our eldest son Freddie who is 8 and has ASD. Watching my son develop and grow in a world which doesn't understand the stress and anxiety autistic people feel makes me determined to get round. I'm 41 and started running 4 weeks ago (so not a natural runner), but going to get this done, somehow!


Ryan Sullivan

  My name is Ryan Sullivan. I am 23 years old I was diagnosed with Asperger’s at the age of 5. When I reached 21 and had been given the name Rhino by everyone, I realised how overweight I had become - this was the beginning of my journey. I chose the NAS because of the support and advice they had given my Mum through the years and felt by running in their name I could achieve not only fitness but also give back support to the society. My first run was London 10,000 in May 2017. Since then I have done 10 10ks and 4 half marathons and I will be running my first marathon on 15 April 2018 in Brighton. At this moment I am excited and confident that I am prepared and will finish the marathon.