A first-time time marathon runner has thanked all those who have supported him in his bid to raise money for the Babygrow Appeal.

After months of training, Jonathon Barnett, 42, will line up for the Amsterdam Marathon on Sunday.

The former Upton High School pupil and editor of the Standard newspaper series has battled back from a thigh injury, which put a dent in his training schedule with about five weeks to go.

He said: “I was actually about six miles in on what would have been my longest training run, 20 miles, when a horrible pain in my left leg stopped me in my tracks. I hobbled the six miles home and booked into see a physio straight away.

“After a few sessions things have definitely got better and I have been able to get back to running regularly and decent distances also.”

So far Mr Barnett, who grew up in Guilden Sutton, has managed to raise more than £500 for the Countess of Chester Hospital’s Babygrow Appeal, which aims to raise enough money to build a new state-of-the-art neonatal unit at the Liverpool Road site.

Mr Barnett added: “I have been really touched by all the people who have donated money and especially to the ones who don’t even know me. This is the first time I have embarked on a fundraising drive and the first I have attempted anything as challenging as a marathon.

“I started out back in January and was built like a prop forward then. I have now managed to lose more than three stone and think I have a fighting chance of getting round the 26.2 mile course. The nerves are starting to kick in now, but I will be lining up with my best mate and I am sure, on the day, we will both enjoy the atmosphere and savour the experience.”

Anyone who would like to donate can do so online at: www.justgiving.com/fundraising/jonathon-barnett.