Anthony Copeland-Parker and Partner Catherine Become Marathon Nomads

About-Parker, Anthony Copeland-2

By Anthony Copeland-Parker

Running All Over The World-Anthony Copeland ParkerWhen my partner, Catherine and I were in our 50s, we found out in short order that I needed a heart valve replacement, and she had early-onset Alzheimer’s. We both had a history as endurance athletes, so our reaction to this news was counter intuitive. We retired from our jobs, sold our home, and became nomads, running marathons and half-marathons all over the world.

Our book Running All over the World, Our Race Against Early Onset Alzheimer’s, is a nonfiction account of our five-plus years of flying, running, walking, sailing, and sightseeing from Atlanta to Antarctica and back again. It’s an offbeat love story, recounting the trials and tribulations of an ex-pilot with a passion for vistas and logistics and a woman so tough she walked a half-marathon in the Australian Outback mere weeks after breaking her ankle.

Catherine lost her husband, when she was in her 30’s, after only being married for a year. That is when marathoning came into her life. Her oldest brother took her under his wing to save her from the spiral of despair. Just like the attitude she takes towards running a marathon, she takes when it comes to her diagnosis of Early Onset Alzheimer’s. She just puts her head down, puts one foot in front of the other, and never gives up. Catherine’s resilience or reserve is anything athletic, so we combine that with our love of travel. Catherine has completed 83 marathons, one Iron Man Competition, a 50 miler Ultra Marathon and many races and triathlons of various distances.

During our years as nomads, we’ve pushed our physical and mental limitations as often as we could – and we finished every race hand in hand.  Our book is also part travelogue and part medical memoir. It transports readers to exotic places like Madagascar, Bhutan, and the Great Wall of China while at the same time offering a day-to-day look at what it means to have nothing but what’s in your suitcase.

Our book is a detailed travel journal and is not specifically about Catherine’s experiences with Alzheimer’s. However, you may benefit from reading about our motivating factors in this journey of a lifetime.

  • If you are a spouse or other loved one to a person with Alzheimer’s, whether early-onset or diagnosed at a later stage, you will recognize the daily challenges, the commitment to being the best partner one can be to someone who is facing a loss on a daily basis. Yet despite this looming specter of loss, Catherine and I are committed to an additive model.
  • If you are a runner, you will recognize the focus on one step at a time, pushing past pain, setting and meeting goals.
  • If you are a traveler, you will revel in adventures and monuments and exotic locales vicariously experienced.

Neither Catherine nor I focus on or are deterred by the daily adjustment to Early Onset Alzheimer’s; instead, every day, every step we take is animated by—what can we add? What new people can we meet? What new goal can we conquer? What new vista can we experience?

If you take this journey with us, you can share in our determination that turns obstacles into challenges, our openness that transforms strangers into, as I put it, new best friends, and the zest for life that embraces new experiences and the horizon beyond measure. Despite whatever hardships you may be facing, this attitude says, there is always a new way of viewing and experiencing your life if you just keep going till you find that new perspective.Parker-Anthony-Parker


Anthony L. Copeland-Parker was a professional Pilot/Manager for thirty-seven years, the last twenty-seven with United Parcel Service. His last job had him managing pilots and flying B757/767-Type Aircraft all over the world. When he retired, he began writing his blog,

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7 Responses

      1. Hi Tony, I read your wonderful book. I can appreciate your dedication to Cathy since my mother has Alzheimer’s. Cathy and I grew up in the same neighborhood and went to the same school. Our family’s went on camping trips together.Cathy was a bridesmaid in my wedding. I have been following your story since I discovered your book. If you are ever in Jeffersonville I would love to see her. I live down the street from her brother Tommy.

          1. Next time you and Cat are in Jeffersonville, please give a call.

            Cell 502-396-6050

          2. Next time you and Cat are in Jeffersonville, please give a call.

            Cell 502-396-6050

          3. Next time you and Cat are in Jeffersonville, please give a call.

            Cell 502-396-6050

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