A BIG-HEARTED junior footballer is staging a marathon effort to raise funds for the Inverclyde Royal Hospital during the coronavirus crisis.

Clydebank ace Chris Black and his partner Kirsty McGlynn will run a marathon and half marathon respectively after the news that Inverclyde was one of the areas in Scotland hardest hit by the disease.

The duo will carry out their respective runs on June 6 and are raising sponsorship cash which they will donate to help staff.

Chris, who was raised in Gourock but now lives in Wemyss Bay, told the Tele: “The football has been finished for a while now but I’ve obviously been trying to keep my fitness up by going out running.

“We came up with the idea initially because my mum works as a nurse at Inverclyde Royal and she was telling me how bad things have been, both in terms of the volume of patients they’ve been receiving and their working environment.

“I thought if I was going out running anyway, then why not do it for a good cause.

“When the new brole that Inverclyde was one of the worst hit places in the UK outside of London, it really hit home and I wanted to do something to help."

The couple haven't set a target but say they hope every penny they raise will prove valuable.

Chris, 27, added: "Whether it’s to get PPE or help with the wellbeing of the patients or nurses, then we’ll be happy because it is always something."

The midfielder revealed that his inspiration came from former Morton full-back Scott Mclaughlin, who recently ran a marathon for Kris Boyd's charity.

That effort pushed Chris to plan the gruelling run through Lunderston Bay, Gourock and Greenock, with Port Glasgow being the half way mark before retracing his route.

He says that there is friendly competition between himself and Kirsty as they look to drive each other on and raise as much as they can.

He continued: “I've been training with 5ks, trying to get my personal best below 19 minutes.

“I did a half marathon on Saturday because I wanted to see how much of a struggle it was going to be as I’ve not done long distance running in some time.

“That was from my front door to the Tesco up in Port Glasgow. If I do that and come back that equals the distance of a marathon.

“It’s a good run, nice and scenic. It takes me up through the Kip Marina and Lunderston Bay and along through the Battery Park.

“Kirsty and I are both committed to it.

“She’s been going further and further during her training, so it’ll be good to see how she does. We’re both looking forward to it - especially for such a great cause.

“She’s probably more determined than me at this point!”