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Tolu and Yemi run for Age UK

"This will be a huge challenge, but it’ll be for such a good cause..."

Influencers Tolu and Yemi tell us about the people and issues that inspired them to run this year's London Marathon in aid of Age UK.



Husband-and-wife team Tolu and Yemi Ogunmefun have successful careers individually and together, but they could never be too busy to support older people. 

Yemi is a creative influencer, while Tolu has been enjoying a thriving comedy acting career in BBC’s Man Like Mobeen – and together, they host their popular podcast ‘The YP Pod’. Soon, Tolu and Yemi will be adding ‘marathon runners’ to their list of achievements, as they prepare to take on 26.2 miles across London on Sunday 21 April – all in aid of Age UK. They have different levels of experience when it comes to running, though.

“I’ve been running for years, and the London Marathon has been on my bucket list for the longest time,” Yemi tells us. “So I’m excited to finally be doing it.”

“For me, signing up started off as a way to support my wife,” Tolu explains. “Yemi’s the runner of the family. I play basketball – and I run after our daughter! But apart from that, before I started marathon training, that was about it.

“But the more research I did into Age UK’s work, the more I started to realise that yes, this will be a huge challenge, but it’ll be for such a good cause. We love giving back, and after all, we all hope to reach old age one day.”

An older influence

Although Tolu and Yemi’s connection with Age UK is new, their appreciation for the older people in their lives goes back to childhood. “I have really good memories with my grandma,” says Yemi. “She used to live in America with my uncle, and we’d go and visit from the UK. She passed away about seven years ago now and she had been living with dementia for a while, but I still remember her as the sweetest person.”

“My grandparents are also very close to my heart,” adds Tolu. “My grandad is extremely hardworking, and my nan is amazing. She’s always been the person I could run to whenever my mum was giving me havoc. By going to her mum, my mum would have to back off!”

As well as their grandparents, Tolu and Yemi share a close relationship with their three neighbours, who they affectionately refer to as ‘Grandmas and Grandpas’ too. “There’s Grandpa Ray Ray, Grandma Blanca and Grandpa John,” Tolu explains. “Every time we stop and have conversations with them, they always share these gems of wisdom.

“Grandpa John and Grandma Blanca both lost their partners, but together with Grandpa Ray Ray they’ve formed a sort of community. They’ll often wash their cars together, and you can tell that they love being together. When Grandma Blanca’s fence fell down recently, Grandpa Ray Ray fixed it. He’s a bit of a community leader. It’s very inspiring, and I’d like to be more like him.”

Age UK Marathon Runners

Hear from some more of our 2024 marathon runners about the experience of completing the London Marathon, and fundraising for Age UK. 

Taking the time

John, Blanca and Ray Ray’s community stretches to their younger neighbours too – and Tolu and Yemi have been glad to contribute to it.

“I think old age can sometimes be lonely,” Yemi tells us. “So we treat Grandpa Ray Ray, Grandma Blanca and Grandpa John like they’re our own grandparents. Sometimes our conversations can go on for hours!”

Tolu agrees: “It may not seem much to us, but I think it means a lot to them.”

“Life can get very busy, and we’re all distracted doing our own things,” says Yemi. “But it takes just five minutes of your time to check up on someone. If I haven’t seen Grandma Blanca that day, I’ll ask other people in the street if they’ve seen her. A lot of older people live alone, so you might never know if something’s happened or if they’re not feeling OK.”

“For example, Grandpa John had a nasty fall recently,” explains Tolu. “He’s feeling a lot better now, but he had to have a hip replacement. I was able to help him while he waited for the ambulance, and you could tell he was so grateful that he could rely on his neighbours.”

“I also think offering someone support and directly asking ‘do you need help?’ can go a long way, because sometimes people feel too shy or embarrassed to ask,” Yemi adds.

“Exactly, and helping doesn’t cost a thing,” says Tolu. “It’s just a bit of your time, and you never know when you’ll need help yourself.”

"Running with someone in mind is always great motivation."

Scott, who has run three London Marathons for Age UK, tells us why he started running, and how his relationship with his grandfather Ernie inspired him to fundraise.

Read Scott's story

Super support

A woman stood in a garden, wearing headphones, an Age UK training vest and showing the peace sign
Yemi showing her support for Age UK
A woman stood in a garden, wearing headphones, an Age UK training vest and showing the peace sign
Yemi showing her support for Age UK

With their community of Grandmas and Grandpas behind them, Tolu and Yemi are feeling prepared and excited to tackle their marathon challenge – and they’re thankful for all the support they’ve received so far.

“Yemi’s told everyone we’re doing it!” Tolu laughs. “And people have obviously seen us running around during training.”

“Last week when I was running, Grandpa Ray Ray spotted me and said, ‘You go, girl!’. I couldn’t stop laughing,” says Yemi. “I’ve been told that the crowd is so supportive on the day too, and that the experience is something you never forget. I’m really excited.”

“The support we’ve had from Age UK has been amazing as well,” says Tolu. “We’ve been sent so many goodies, and we’ve had video calls and emails along the way, which have all been very encouraging. It’s made us feel like we’re not alone.”

And what would they say to anyone who’s thinking of following in their footsteps to fundraise for Age UK? “Do it!” says Yemi. “Go for it, enjoy it, throw yourself into it, and you’ll reap the rewards. It feels amazing to do a good deed for a great cause. Why would you not want to?”

Sign up to run for Age UK in 2025

Sign up now to apply for your place in next year's London Marathon. You'll need to commit to fundraising a minimum of £2,000 for Age UK, plus a registration fee of £100.

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Last updated: Apr 26 2024

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