TWO Runcorn runners are hoping to raise at least £2,000 for the Stroke Association by competing in the Paris Marathon.

Draught designer Lee Clark, aged 26, and former soldier Dean Walker, aged 27, have chosen this charity because both their grandparents have suffered a stroke.

Lee’s grandad, John King, aged 66, from Murdishaw, passed away last October.

Dean lives with his nan, Lillian Walker, aged 66, who has survived several strokes.

The childhood friends, who both attended the former Halton High School, are now busy training to pound 26 miles round the streets of the French capital on Sunday, April 6.

Self-employed Lee, from Sandymoor, who has a wife, Natalie, and two-year-old daughter, Daisy, said: “Your whole lifestyle has to change. You have to watch what times you eat. It is hard.

“I did the rat race for Halton Haven last year and that was really gruelling.”

Dean, from Murdishaw was in the army for 11 years and served in Iraq. He enlisted with the King’s Regiment which became the 2nd Battalion Duke of Lancasters and was promoted to Corporal, leading a platoon of men.

He is now training for his first civilian new job as a rigger on a wind farm, working monthly shifts in the north east.

Dean said: “I used to play semi-professional football with the army. I flew all over the world to LA, Germany and Cyprus.

“Training for this marathon has been difficult because of all the bad weather. It is the endurance, getting the miles under you that is hard.

“It is going to be a challenge but this is a good cause. My nan is over the moon with me.”

To support the pair, visit or text land88 £ to 70070.