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Trinity's Benson gears up for marathon – 17 years after his last big race

Trinity Mirror’s regionals editorial director Neil Benson is pounding the streets in training for this year’s Flora London Marathon – 17 years after his last big race.

Neil, (51), is running to raise money for Childline, and has set himself a sponsorship target of £3,600 on completion of the 26.2 mile race on Sunday, April 23.

He said: “I thought my marathon days were well behind me but that all changed when Trinity Mirror began to work with Childline last year.

“Childline does a fantastic job to help desperate youngsters, but resources are limited and the volume of calls so great that they are unable to answer every call.

“They need a big cash injection to expand the service, and our titles will be running a campaign to support them in March. I decided that, on top of that, I would do my bit to help.”

Neil, a former editor of the Newcastle Evening Chronicle and Coventry Evening Telegraph, ran his first London Marathon in 1987 in a time of three hours and 13 minutes, and did two more over the next two years, including New York in 1989.

He is now running more than 40 miles a week, but is finding serious training tougher the second time around.

He said: “The hard part is forcing yourself to put your kit on at the end of a long day and to run alone, in the cold and dark.

“But I’m getting there, and I’m hoping to get round in about three hours 45 minutes. That would be a personal worst, but not bad for an old ‘un.”

Anyone who would like to sponsor Neil and support Childline can visit his fundraising page at Giving support through the justgiving site attracts Gift Aid, which boosts every donation by 28 per cent, at no additional cost to the donor.