A RUNNER from Portland is set to take on the London Marathon for a pair of charities after a mobile app triggered a love for long distance running.

Gary Haylock, 46, will raise money for local charity Weldmar Hospicecare Trust and the Motor Neurone Disease Association when he takes on the London Marathon on April 24.

This will be Gary's third marathon in four years of running, but his first attempt at the London Marathon..

He started to take part in endurance races after following a fitness programme on a mobile phone app.

He said: "I started running as I was a stressed, overweight smoker with high blood pressure and decided it was time to change things.

"I used the Couch to 5k app to begin with.

"Then I found that I actually like running and have never looked back."

Gary has already raised an amount close to his £2,000 target figure to split between his two charities.

He added: "I have chosen these charities as Weldmar has helped numerous friends and families and MNDA as my mother in law has the disease."

He has organised several fundraising events, including a race night that brought in more than £1,400 and a quiz.

Gary also writes a blog entitled The Moaning Runner, in which he provides updates on his training schedule and preparations for the marathon.

"Long runs on your own give you a lot of time to think," said Gary.

"Then, on getting home and whilst relaxing in the bath, I just thought 'I am going to write about this in a blog' and it went from there."

His current training schedule sees him running five times a week, including two hill runs, two easy runs and a long distance run, which is usually more than 20 miles.

He said: "It's my last long run this week and hopefully I'll get another 20 miles in or more.

"My training has gone well, with no major injuries."

To help Gary with his fundraising efforts, visit his donation page at virginmoneygiving.com/GaryHaylock.

Are you running the London Marathon this year and want to share your story? Contact reporter Tom Beasley on 01305 830818 or email tom.beasley@dorsetecho.co.uk.