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Why I'm running the London Marathon 2020 for Tourettes Action

Posted Mon 10th Feb 2020 at 07:00
by Matthew Davidson


I was first diagnosed with Tourette Syndrome aged 8. I had some very challenging times when I was first diagnosed, I was in a school full of children and adults alike, that really did not understand the condition. 

Although they don’t always, tics can follow patterns, and for the most part the majority of my tics started in childhood and are still with me to this day. Throughout my childhood rapid blinking was one of my most common tics, blinking thousands of times every day, which would cause me to be very tired and be in pain, often unable to sleep as the tics would continue.

I was told during primary school that due to the troubles I had gone through, my interpersonal skills were underdeveloped. I was told it would be best if I attended a school for those with similar conditions to mine. But my ambition was to attend the same school as my siblings, which I did. It wasn’t easy, and through lack of understanding by other children I was bullied a fair amount, but I would not allow it to deter me from attending the school.

The Tourette Syndrome Association which is now known as Tourette’s Action, supported me in many ways when I was younger, but one huge part was introducing individuals with TS to one another, who lived in the same area. Through meetings and events such as going to the theatre, cinema, laser tag and more, myself and others were given the chance to relax, meet others and form lifelong friendships. This has been crucial to many people as Tourettes is a neurological condition with no viable cure, so having the support of others who also have first hand experience is invaluable.

Fast forward to present times and my niece was diagnosed with Tourettes aged 7.  My brother wanted to do something positive for both myself, my niece and the charity that has supported us throughout the years, and decided he would run the London marathon in 2019. He raised a huge amount for the cause and successfully completed the run.

This year my motivation is to run the London marathon 2020 for the same reasons; a personal thank you to the charity, knowing that the funds will go towards research and supporting those living with Tourettes; as well as showing my brother respect for what he endured the previous year.

I have a number of things to consider with running, I suffer with mild IBS, asthma and also the Tourettes. The three things can impact on eachother, so my runs take very careful planning and even still it will be a struggle. The Tourettes in particular can be impacted by stress - both mentally and physically on the body - so I have noticed that after the first 8-10 miles or so, my tics begin to worsen and as I become more tired the tics intensify. It will be challenging physically but also mentally, dealing with a combination of many factors which will become even worse should I get anxious at all during the run.


We wish Matthew the best of luck with his marathon, and know he will do a fantastic job and should be proud of himself.  If you'd like to sponsor Matthew, visit his online fundraising page here:

You can come and cheer Matthew on, and the rest of the Tourettes Action marathon runners on Sunday 26th April 2020. Please contact Pippa to find out where our official cheering station will be.


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Why I'm running the London Marathon 2020 for Tourettes Action

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