An animal lover has discovered a novel way of both training and fundraising for this year’s marathon – thanks to man’s best friend.
Joe Powell, who is set for April’s Brighton Marathon, is offering to take other people’s energetic canines out on his training runs in return for a donation.
The 27-year-old from Hanover currently has Buster, Merryl, Heff and Darcy hot on his heels – but is now looking for more to join his pack.
He said: “This will be my first ever marathon so I’m training hard, and the dogs have been great company for me.
“I take them to the beach, racecourse and in the woods around Stanmer Park, and they’ve really been enjoying themselves.”
Mr Powell dreamt up the scheme after gazing out the window at the appalling weather earlier this winter.
In return for a donation he decided he would save Brighton and Hove dog owners from the elements by taking their pets on his five-mile training runs. Led by his own dog Jess, his pack has already raised £280 for his chosen charity Scope.
Mr Powell has first-hand experience of disability as his cousin Sam has Down’s Syndrome.
He is also assistant manager of Cloverdale House in Hove, a residential home which provides support to adults with learning disabilities.
He said: “Because of the job I do I’m really aware of the challenges faced by some disabled people, and howimportant the work of Scope is.
“They run a lot of services in the local area that make a huge difference to disabled people and their families.
“It’s good to know that by taking part in the marathon I’m going to be able make a difference. I hope I’m able to raise as much money as possible to help out.”
Debbie Bines, from the charity, added: “The money raised by people taking part in the Brighton Marathon for Scope is incredibly important because it helps disabled people and their families overcome their own challenges in life.
“We’re always looking for new fundraisers so if you’re looking for your next big challenge and believe disabled people should have a fair chance in life get in touch.”
To send your dog out with Mr Powell contact him via www.facebook.com/Brightondogrunner.
To sponsor him visit http://uk.virgin moneygiving.com/josephpowell1.