JUST a year after taking up running for the first time, a Tetbury teenager will be realising his life-long dream of running a marathon.

Sam Beard, who works as a chef at Minchinhampton Golf Club, will be taking part in the ASICS Greater Manchester Marathon run on April 6 to raise money for Cheltenham-based bereavement charity, Winston’s Wish.

Sam(18) has lost an impressive four and a half stone since he picked up running, and has been preparing for the race with a gruelling training regime, which has seen him running five or six times a week.

“I had to start running, the way I was going who knows what would have happened. Now I train every day -it has changed my life,” he said.

“I started running and enjoyed it more and more and kept going. I have lost nearly four and a half stone since.

“Training is really good. I have not done that much for the last few weeks as I am just hoping that I don’t get injured.”

The ASICS Greater Manchester Marathon in Trafford is the flattest marathon course in the UK with 54m of elevation.

Sam ran the Stroud half marathon in a time of 2:27:11 but says he would be happy just to complete the Manchester run.

He said: “My goal for the marathon is simple, to finish. However if I do it in under 5 hours 45 minutes, I'll be over the moon”

“This experience is by far the biggest goal of my life so far and I don't care if it takes 4 weeks, I will cross the finish line!”

Sam will start the race under the Trafford Arch and will finish near Manchester United’s Old Trafford football ground.

After running in Stroud last year for Stroud-based charity, Meningitis Trust, Sam said he was was ready for a bigger challenge and decided that would come in the shape of the Manchester Marathon.

The energetic teenager said he decided to support Winston’s Wish, which supports bereaved children young people and their families, as it ties in with his aim of supporting charities in the district through his running.

“I always try to choose something like the Meningitis Trust as they are local . It was a local charity and I saw the good work they do and I feel the same about Winston’s Wish.”

To sponsor Sam in his run visit www.justgiving.co.uk/sam-beard-marathon