KICKING a 15-year smoking addiction and running a 10-mile race in the same year is quite a feat.
And that is exactly what dad-of-three Paul Clark has vowed to accomplish.
The 31-year-old is dedicating his first Great South Run to his father-in-law, Mitchell Davies, who died in September last year, aged just 54.
Mitchell, of Orsmond Close, Waterlooville, was a smoker and died from an undetected heart problem.
As a touching tribute, Paul will run with a picture of Mitchell on his T-shirt in this Sunday’s 10-mile event in Portsmouth.
Paul, who lives in Greywell Road, Leigh Park, said: ‘I decided this year to give up smoking.
‘I have been a smoker since I was 15 or 16 and I had just had enough and wanted to get fit. It’s an achievement to give up smoking and run a half marathon in the same year.
‘I just wanted to set myself a personal challenge.’
Paul said the sudden death of Mitchell came as a shock to the entire family.
‘It’s definitely spurred me on to look after my health more and try to be a role model for my kids,’ he said.
‘I don’t want them to smoke when they grow up.’
When he is not working as a service engineer for Hobart UK, Paul has been training like a trooper.
He said: ‘I started off just training on the streets and up and down the seafront. Then I have moved on to training on the trails at the back of the hill at Purbrook Heath.
‘I have been pushing myself further and further.’
Cheering him to the finish line will be his wife Karla, 33, and their three children.
Paul hopes to raise several hundred pounds for children’s cancer charity Clic Sargent.
He added: ‘Mitch was a fantastic family man and it would have been the charity of his choice. It’s my first run, so I’m excited and nervous at the same time.’
To support Paul visit virginmoneygiving.com and search for Paul Clark.