A TEACHER is preparing to run this year’s London Marathon, inspired by her seven-year-old son who suffers from arthritis.

Leanne Jones, a teacher at Blaenavon Heritage VC Primary School, will raise funds for Arthritis Research UK by competing in the world famous 26-mile race this month.

She ran it when she was 18, but this time, she has extra motivation – her son, William, who has suffered from arthritis since he was four.

“I really want people to be more aware that children can get arthritis, that it’s not just older people,” said Mrs Jones.

“It is essential we raise more awareness of this condition and that more research is done to try and find a cure. Arthritis Research UK fund important research into juvenile arthritis which can make a real difference to children like William.”

But despite weekly injections and regular trips to hospital for blood tests, she said it had not stopped her son being as active as possible.

“He just wants to be a happy, active young boy who enjoys physical activities, including football, swimming and Tae Kwon Do,” she added.

“There was a time when he couldn’t walk because of it, but now, apart from the weekend when he takes his medication which tends to make him a bit ill, he is as well as we can have hoped. He has inspired me.”

The year two teacher and school health, fitness and well-being coordinator said her training was going well.

To spur her on, her colleagues are holding a ‘26-mile challenge fun day’ on April 7, with a host of 26-mile inspired events. Pupils are taking part in 26 tae kwon-do moves, and 26 goes down the slide, while fellow teachers are planning to undergo 26 dress changes and to try 26 different shades of lipstick.

See http://uk.virginmoney giving.com/LeanneJones5 to sponsor her run.