A WHITCHURCH resident put in the miles last month ahead of the 2020 Virtual London Marathon.

Disappointed by the postponement of the April 2020 London Marathon, Paul Williamson is determined to honour his commitment to the Riding for Disabled Association (RDA) and all those who sponsored him.

Paul has elected to run the Virtual Marathon, now scheduled for October 4 and will start his run in Whitchurch, taking in surrounding villages on his route.

The RDA has been an important part of the Williamson family life for more than 10 years, as Paul's son James has a rare genetic syndrome, Smith Magenis Syndrome.

James was non-verbal when he attended his first session at Perry RDA and walked with the support of a walking frame.

Perry RDA's hippotherapy – which is physiotherapy while riding a horse – was transformational for James, improving his core strength, stability, walking, communication, confidence and social interaction.

Paul says James, now 12, adores the ponies and some of his first words were the names of the RDA ponies, as he explains.

"I turned 50 last September and I wanted to set myself a challenge as well as raise money for charity," he said. "I have never run 10k let alone a marathon.

"The Riding for the Disabled Association (RDA) is such an important part of our lives.

"Perry RDA's hippotherapy sessions were transformational for James improving his core strength, stability, walking, communication, confidence and social interaction.

"James has now progressed to RDA vaulting which he and we thoroughly enjoy.

"As a family and also with the support of our wider family and friends we have already supported the wonderful Perry RDA/Cavalier Centre journey and now being chosen by the RDA to run the 2020 marathon is a huge honour especially as the RDA and I are both celebrating the big 50.

"All money raised will be split between National RDA and the Cavalier Centre, the brand new home for Perry RDA.

"While the Cavalier Centre is supported by an amazing team of volunteers it still costs more than £9,000 a month to operate the centre, which is funded solely by donations.

"Please help to support the RDA's life changing work by sponsoring me so that other children and adults with disabilities can experience what James has been so fortunate to benefit from.

"Prior to the postponed April Marathon I completed 12 weeks of training and in February I ran 130 miles which included two 16 mile runs.

"Since September last year I have run 800 miles and not yet run a marathon. I will be running the virtual marathon on Sunday 4th October."

Paul has already raised over £3,800 and all the money will be split between National RDA and Perry RDA.

Donations can be made via www.virginmoneygiving.com/PaulWilliamson23