Forfar man to run marathon for charity

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A LOCAL man has decided to take on the challenge of the 26 mile Edinburgh Marathon in order to raise money for the charity, Scottish Autism.

Alan Welsh (49), known as Joe by friends and family, chose to run the marathon for Scottish Autism as his friend’s son has the condition.

Scottish Autism is a charity that exists to help those diagnosed with autism to lead full and enriched lives and become valuable members of the community they live in.

They seek to maximise the individual potential of all those on the autistic spectrum and the organisation is dedicated towards helping them and those who offer additional support to achieve this aim.

Alan has been walking and running around the Forfar Loch with his Weimaraner dog, Zara, 10 miles every day in order to raise his fitness levels in preparation for the Edinburgh Marathon.

As well as walking and running with his dog he has been going to the gym twice a week and has also joined the Forfar Road Runners where he runs every Wednesday around the town and countryside for practice and also to aid his fitness.

Alan said: “Other members of the Forfar Road Runners are also taking part in the Edinburgh Marathon so it is very encouraging for me to keep up with them and practice with others.”

He has also been cycling and hill walking in the weeks running up to the marathon which takes place over the weekend of May 25 and 26.

In order to raise sponsor money, Alan has organised a number of charity tins to be placed in various establishments around the town for the coming weeks until the marathon.

There will be a charity tin in the Osnaburg bar and they are also asking for a £1 donation and the prize on offer is lunch for two and a bottle of Champagne.

There will also be a charity tin doing the rounds at various cafes and pubs in Forfar.

Last year, Alan took part in the Great North Run for the Kids With Cancer charity and raised in excess of £600.

He commented: “Last year I raised around £600, if I can raise about the same and if not more, I’ll be happy.

“As long as training goes well I should be able to complete the marathon in four hours or less.

“If I could finish it in three and a half hours I would be delighted but I would be happy with four and under.”

Autism is a life-long developmental disability that affects how a person communicates with, and relates to, other people.

It also affects how they make sense of the world around them.

It is a spectrum condition, which means that, while all people with autism share certain difficulties, their condition can affect them in a number different ways. Some people with autism are able to live relatively independent lives but others may have accompanying learning disabilities and need a lifetime of specialist support. People with autism may also experience over or under-sensitivity to sounds, touch, tastes, smells, light or colours.

Asperger syndrome is a form of autism. People with Asperger syndrome are often of average or above average intelligence. They have fewer problems with speech but may still have difficulties with understanding and processing language.

For further information visit www.scottishautism.org