A pair of friends who have been applying to take part in the London Marathon for the past eight years have finally been successful.
Lee Swales, from Coppull, and Max Halsall, from Leyland, will be taking part in their first ever marathon in aid of a cause close to their hearts.
The 32-year-olds, who work for Adlington-based Fairport Containers, are now gearing up for the big race this month, to raise money for Cancer Research.
Fairport Containers is coming to the end of its 20th anniversary year celebrations, and it is hoped the funds raised by its marathon team will take the business past its £20,000 fund-raising target for the year.
Welder Lee, who has worked at the firm on Market Place for 11 years, explained why he and lifelong friend Max were keen to get involved.
“Our boss asked if anyone would be interested in running the London Marathon for Cancer Research UK, and it is something that Max and I had always talked about doing,” he said.
“Both my mum and Max’s nan passed away from cancer, so the charity couldn’t be a better one for us personally, and we want to do the very best we can for them.”
The pair began training in October with 10-mile runs and are now running at least 18 miles each time around Lancashire.
They have also been given free access to Wing Tchun Martial Arts Fitness gym in Chorley, so they can train in bad weather, and are hoping to complete the 26.2-mile race in less than four hours.
Former Marine Max said: “We had applied before and been turned down, and to be honest I didn’t expect to get a place this time, as so many people want to take part.
“I thought Lee was joking when he said we’d got in, I couldn’t believe how lucky we were.
“When I left the Marines in 2008, I swore I’d never run again, but there was no way I could turn this down.
“It is hard going out training after a full day’s work, but it will be worth it to cross that finish line and see the total we have raised.”
Fairport Containers’ managing director Steve Collinson said: “We are hugely proud that Lee and Max have secured a place in this fantastic event.
“Places are highly sought after, with more than 100,000 people applying to take part every year, and just one third of these receiving a place.
“We are sure they will do us, and Cancer Research UK, proud.”
Darren Thomas, from the gym, said: “When I found out that Max (who is a close family friend) and his best mate Lee were running the London Marathon for Cancer Research, I didn’t hesitate in helping out as we know the weather in this country is a bit hit and miss at times.
“So that the guys had a dry place to train I gave them free use of the gym any time they needed to use it.
“I think all of us have been effected by this cause in one way or another, so we’re trying to raise as much money as possible to help them on their way.”
To sponsor Max and Lee, visit www.justgiving/maxandlee.