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Alex runs for charity that helped his da

PUBLISHED: 15:48 11 May 2010 | UPDATED: 16:23 01 July 2010

Jon Welch

A Norwich student has his eyes set on a record when he runs his first-ever marathon in aid of a charity close to his heart.

Alex Mansell, 20, will be running the Berlin Marathon in aid of the Spinal Injuries Association (SIA).

A Norwich student has his eyes set on a record when he runs his first-ever marathon in aid of a charity close to his heart.

Alex Mansell, 20, will be running the Berlin Marathon in aid of the Spinal Injuries Association (SIA).

His father Peter suffered a spinal injury in a car crash in 1978, aged 21, and later became chief executive of the charity.

Alex, a second-year history and politics student at the University of East Anglia, said: “The charity means a lot to me. As a child, I would get taken into work by my dad and I'd help out, doing some basic admin work.

“While I was there I met a lot of paralysed people and saw what the charity did to help them. When people suffer a spinal injury and go from walking to not walking, they need help with lots of things, from getting about to having a bath.

“The charity can offer assistance with that and also offers advice and support to families.”

Alex, of Doris Road, Norwich, took up running last year after being inspired by the London Marathon. He ran last November's City of Norwich Half-Marathon in a time of 2hrs 4secs.

When he runs in Berlin on September 26, he has a target time of 3hrs 45mins, but will also be eyeing the UEA marathon record in 3hrs 37mins 34secs, held by James Colley.

“I think I have a very good chance. I did the Norwich half-marathon in two hours with very little training, so hopefully I can do it,” he said.

“Training's going really well. I've been doing three or four runs a week and I'm slowly building up the mileage.”

Alex, whose family is from Bromley, Kent, had hoped to raise £12 for each of the race's 42km (26.2 miles), a total of £504, but has already had £365 in pledges, so plans to aim even higher.

To sponsor Alex, visit www.justgiving.com/mance-is-running

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