A SEASONED Barry Island parkrunner is set to run his first ever marathon, in London for charity, and five weeks before turning 74.

Retired 73-year-old John Deakin will take part in the Virgin Money London Marathon for Pancreatic Cancer Action.

The avid runner, who served in the Royal Air Force for 30 years and was a former football referee and senior administrator for the Football Association of Wales decided to attempt the 26.2-mile course for the charity following a bout of pancreatitis in 2012.

He hopes to raise vital awareness and funds for pancreatic cancer – the UK’s fifth biggest cancer killer.

Mr Deakin, of Llantwit Major, said: “I am a regular runner and volunteer at the Barry Island parkrun that takes place at 9am every Saturday morning. I have run on 64 occasions and have volunteered on 21 separate occasions, usually acting as a marshall. I love running at Barry Island and have made some wonderful friends there, who have been very supportive in my preparation for the London Marathon. I ran my 50th parkrun on May 27, 2017, my 73rd birthday.

Mr Deakin won a ballot place and chose his charity.

“I chose Pancreatic Cancer as I myself had pancreatitis five years ago and was fortunate enough to recover very quickly.

“This will be my first Marathon, just five weeks prior to my 74th birthday. I have been a runner for many years and have completed numerous half marathons, raising funds for a number of Cancer Charities, including Macmillan and Children with Cancer.

“My preparation has gone quite well. I am fortunate to have a wonderful training partner, Clair Thomas, from St Athan, who like me is a member of the Major Milers Running Club, and is herself running the London Marathon in aid of The Scouts Association.”

Mr Deakin has already raised £1,400 and hopes to finish in around five hours.

Founder of Pancreatic Cancer Action, Ali Stunt said the charity was honoured.

She said: “We rely solely on donations from the public and thanks to people like John that we can continue our vital work. Please back him in his fundraising efforts so that we can continue research into early diagnosis and raise awareness of pancreatic cancer.”

To donate, visit justgiving.com/John-Deakin2