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Marathon grandad to run to help disabled children

PUBLISHED: 11:59 25 February 2010 | UPDATED: 17:38 25 August 2010

A 75-YEAR-OLD will take on a marathon to raise money for disabled children. Alan Shelley, of Silver Spring Close, Erith, is cranking up training to tackle the London Marathon on April 25 after being inspired by André, an eight-year-old with autism. Mr S

A 75-YEAR-OLD will take on a marathon to raise money for disabled children.

Alan Shelley, of Silver Spring Close, Erith, is cranking up training to tackle the London Marathon on April 25 after being inspired by André, an eight-year-old with autism.

Mr Shelley will run the 26 miles for the Essex Disabled Sports Foundation.

He said: "André is the son of a friend of mine and it's through him and his family that I got to learn about the charity.

"It maybe based in Essex but it's not just for people living in the county.

"André has inspired me to run for this charity which concentrates on giving meaning to young people's lives."

A grandfather of seven, he only started running seriously at a more sprightly 68, fulfilling a burning ambition in 2004 to do the London Marathon ever since its launch in 1981.

He said: "My grandchildren think I'm daft to be tackling something like this, but they expect me to finish it. I've always had this thing that I wanted to run the marathon even though I hadn't run properly since I was a schoolkid.

"At work I turned to a colleague and said we can do it but at the time we had a family and the training was too much of a commitment."

The last time he ran the marathon he raised £3,000 for the Spinal Injuries Association, a charity that helped his brother David Shelley, of Blackfen, after a horrific motorbike accident left him paralysed from the chest down in 1994.

Alan is currently clocking a weekly mileage of 30 miles to build up enough strength for the marathon, aiming to rack up 50 miles a week by next month. "This time I'm hoping to get under the six hour mark, I'm more laid back about it than last time."

n For more information about Essex Disabled Sports Foundation log on to www.presidentssporting

club.co.uk/. To donate towards Mr Shelley's London Marathon bid, log on to: www.alanshelley.co.uk/vlm 2010.


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