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

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

Sam started the race under the Trafford Arch and was overjoyed to finish it with a time of 5hrs 58minutes near Manchester United’s Old Trafford football ground.

“I wanted to finish it in at least six hours so I was really happy with that. It was really hard but I like it and I want to do more,” he said.

The 18-year-old has lost four and a half stone since he started running, and prepared for the race with a gruelling training regime, which saw him running five or six times a week.

“Now I train every day – it has changed my life,” he said. “I started running and enjoyed it more and more and kept going.”

After running in Stroud last year for Stroud-based charity, Meningitis Trust, Sam said he was was ready for a bigger challenge.

This time he was running for Winston’s Wish, which supports bereaved children young people and their families.

“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.”

Sam has raised £400 so far but is hoping his final total will be much more after collecting family donations.