Half-marathon joy for designer

A young man who could barely walk last year after he was struck down by arthritis is set to run the Norwich Half Marathon.

Graphic designer Matt Roberts was diagnosed with the condition two years ago, aged just 24. His fingers had swollen and at one stage he could not walk without a walking stick.

After a course of intense medication, often the same kind given to cancer patients, the former Norwich University College of the Arts (Nuca) student decided to try running.

He found running helped his symptoms and he came off the medication. Mr Roberts now plans to run the 13.1-mile event this Sunday to raise money for Arthritis Research UK and to raise awareness of how the condition can affect younger people as well older generations.

The 26-year-old, who lives just off Drayton Road in Norwich with his girlfriend Debra, said he was 'shocked' to discover he had arthritis at such a young age.

He said: 'I'm quite excited about the Norwich Half – it's a goal I've been working towards for a little while.

'I'm overjoyed to be able to do it – I couldn't walk or move my hands at one stage – so it will be great to reach that finish line.'

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After the Larking Gowen-sponsored Norwich Half, which will see 3,000 runners follow a route around the roads near Easton and in the grounds of the Norfolk Showground, Mr Roberts plans to run the Edinburgh Marathon in May.

He hopes to raise �1,000 for Arthritis Research UK.

To sponsor Mr Roberts, visit the webisite www.justgiving.com/thearthriticrunneragain.