A LOVING son is running the London Marathon in memory of his athletics coach father, Arthur Almond.

Arthur, 72, who was a Blackburn Harriers volunteer coach for middle-distance runners for more than 30 years, had been diagnosed with motor neurone disease - a progressive condition that damages the nervous system.

The grandfather-of-three, of Fir Trees Drive, Blackburn, had been in Royal Preston Hospital for a month before his death in November.

He had battled prostate cancer and a triple heart bypass, but rarely missed training sessions, even during radiotherapy.

Now son Mark Almond has set up a fund called ‘Running to d’feet MND’ to raise money for the Motor Neurone Disease Association.

He said: “My father inspired me to run the marathon. When you run you become tired and breathless, but I am in control.

“My father ran the Bolton marathon in the 1980s but couldn’t later because of his condition.”

Mark, who has a place in the marathon through the Blackburn club, will be taking part in the 26-mile event in London on Sunday, April 21.

He said: “I increased my training regime from September and since then I have run over 1,000 miles. I have wanted to run a marathon for a while.”

He will be accompanied by mum Sylvia, who will celebrate her 70th birthday on April 26, wife Victoria, son Morgan, and his brother David.

He said: “We are going to take the opportunity to celebrate dad’s memory while the family are together.”

Mark is also hoping to hold an athlete’s auction in the summer to raise money. To help, email Mark@Runner.me To donate money visit uk.virginmoneygiving.com/Runningtodfeet.