A RUNNER will put himself to the test when he makes his marathon debut in aid of Ardgowan Hospice.

Gary Devenay is on a mission to raise £2,000 for the hospice by completing the 26.2 mile race in London next year.

It's third time lucky for the 27-year-old, who missed out on a coveted place for the last two years.

He says he has been inspired to take on the challenge as the hospice has supported his friends, family and countless people throughout the community.

His sister Joanna Hunter, 31, is also a fundraising officer at Ardgowan.

Gary said: "I'm really excited.

"I have been desperate to do it the last couple of years but have been unsuccessful in the ballot.

"So I can't wait.

"It's great to do London as my first marathon because it's so prestigious.

"I think the hospice has touched most local families and I want to give something back."

Joanna, 31, is delighted her brother has decided to help the hospice and will be going to the capital to cheer him on.

She said: "It's a big challenge, especially for somebody who has never done a marathon before.

"I'm so proud of him for doing it.

"I'm hopefully going to go down to London to cheer him on which will be amazing."

Elaine McNeill, hospice fundraising chief, added: "We as a hospice get one place in the London Marathon every five years as part of the Silver Bond scheme so we've had people running the marathon for the hospice in 2010 and 2015.

"We're delighted that Gary is able to do it for us this time."

As his training begins Gary has set up an online fundraising page and anyone who would like to donate can do so at www.justgiving.com/fundraising/gary-devenay