A DETERMINED Port Glasgow dad who only recently recovered from a double hernia is running the London Marathon this October to help sick kids.

The 26.2 mile race on October 2 attracted hundreds-of-thousands of applications but Alan Roxburgh, 42, made it through the ballot after years of trying.

He has decided to do the run in aid of the Children with Cancer UK charity.

With less than two months to go, the Portonian hopes to raise as much as he can, having already smashed his initial target of £1,500.

He said: "Running the London Marathon is a bucket list-tick for me.

"I didn't realise it would be quite so difficult to get a slot, but I spoke to several other people and they were in the same boat as me.

"After having kids, I just decided one day I would try and get fit again.

"I started doing 10k, worked my way up to do the Great Scottish Run about 10 years ago, and then I thought I should progress to a marathon.

"But now that I'm in, the fact I am doing it for charity has kind of overtaken the fact that I am doing the London Marathon."

The athlete, who also is a local football referee in the Greenock Welfare League, followed a thorough training regime until his sudden injury meant his preparations had to be halted for two weeks.

Alan said: "I was ahead of target, so having to stop was a bit worrying.

"To train for this, you do need to go out for hours at a time, which isn't always the easiest when you have other commitments.

"Maybe I pushed myself too much but I am really looking forward to getting back into a routine, because I missed the exercising.

"I am not setting myself a target time, I just want to complete the race on the day and raise as much as I can beforehand."

Alan has set up an online JustGiving page, organised a raffle and arranged a charity night at Port Glasgow's 68 Bar and his appeal stands at an impressive £2,200 so far.

The Diodes worker says that his employer was a main sponsor and one of the first to contribute and other local businesses have since joined the cause, including a local family whose child had cancer.

A representative of the family - who wanted to stay anonymous to protect their loved one after a harsh regime of chemo - thanked Alan for his 'amazing' efforts.

They said: "There is so little publicity for children's cancer and funding, despite it being so common.

"The donations help so many children and families going through an awful journey.

"Without charities such as Children with Cancer, Team Jak, the Les Hoey foundation, Make a Wish, and so many more fabulous organisations, the journey would be so much harder."

Alan says his fears about sponsorship drying up during the current rise in household bills proved unfounded.

He said: "I was so worried about people maybe not being able to contribute because so many are facing the pinch during this cost of living crisis, but the response has been phenomenal - people have been so generous.

"It's become really important now to raise money for the charity and the more you look into it, the more you see the amazing work they are doing.

"Knowing a family and a child affected by cancer personally brought the issue so much closer to home for me.

"I am determined to do the best I can - both with the fundraiser and completing the event."

To sponsor Alan's appeal for Children with Cancer UK, visit www.justgiving.com/fundraising/Alan-Roxburgh