EXCITED Ethan Horton is counting the days to running in a marathon in memory of his dad who was killed in Afghanistan.

The intrepid nine-year-old can’t wait to join Private Amir Unsworth and Brigadier John Donnelly from the Mercian Regiment as they run through Runcorn on Sunday, October 31.

Ethan’s mum, Jane, azged 33, former wife of Runcorn Colour Sgt Martyn Horton, said: “He’s so keen to do it.

“He wants to be on his own with the Brigadier and Amir.

“People have been shaking his hand and saying ‘well done’ since they read the story in last week’s World.

“It’s great for him to have something positive to look forward to.”

Sgt Horton, aged 34, died on June 23, ‘doing the job he loved’.

He was killed with three of his colleagues when their armoured vehicle overturned in a canal in Gereshk, Helmand Province.

TV celebrities and sports personalities have pledged to run a mile along the route, from Warrington to Chester.

Ethan, a pupil at Beechwood Primary School, plans to join the runners at Runcorn cenotaph in Greenway Road at around 11.15am.

Runcorn firefighters are also taking part.

Crew manager Gavin Hanson, said: “This is very close to our hearts. We have already raised £10,000 for Help For Heroes.

“We will get most of the lads running with them.”

Private Amir Unsworth, an army training instructor and boxer, who organised the event, said: “The Mercians have lost 12 soldiers killed in action and over 70 with life-changing injuries, including seven amputees.

“We want to raise money for the families of the Mercian soldiers who have tragically lost their lifes in Afghanistan as well as those badly injured.”

The runners will come into Runcorn along Daresbury Expressway, Bridge Street, High Street, Greenway Road, Moughland Lane, Clifton Road and Beechwood.

To support Ethan, visit www.justgiving.com/MercianMarathon or e-mail mercian.marathon@gmail.com