A MARATHON runner will receive a hero’s welcome from his faithful dog upon completion of the inaugural Stirling Scottish Marathon.

Fred the Pug will be waiting for Ron Rose at the finish area beneath the ramparts of Stirling Castle on Sunday, 21 May 2017 following his efforts in the first-ever marathon in the city.

Ron, of Dunblane, looks after Fred for a close friend who works long hours, and has credited the prize pooch – who has qualified for Crufts – with being instrumental in the recovery of his wife Joan from breast cancer.

Fred, who qualified for Crufts by virtue of being placed in the top three of his breed at the Scottish Pug dog Club Championship Show last April, will be in proud attendance at the finish area of the run, clad in his very own Macmillan and SSAFA (Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen and Families Association) regalia. Ron is running in support of Macmillan Forth Valley One-to-One team and the Perth Branch of SSAFA.

Ron, 50, will be raising money for Macmillan after the charity stepped in to support his wife Joan after being diagnosed with breast cancer in 2014.

Additional cost of travel for treatment owing to the Roses’ rural location could have led to her having to forego radiotherapy, but Macmillan provided financial support.

Joan completed her treatment in March 2015, where Macmillan once more lent additional support with home visits.

And Ron is convinced that having Fred the Pug as part of the family in that time has been a major factor in Joan’s recovery.

He said: ”It is our personal experience, that the positive role of pets during cancer journey cannot be over-emphasised. 

“Their affection and companionship is one of the most effective therapies one can be sufficiently lucky to have. 

“We are 'permanently 'fostering' Fred for a close friend who works long hours. 

“This gives Fred the constant company and attention that is ideal for pugs and, in return, his ultra-affectionate nature continues to be an absolute revelation in Joan's brave recovery journey from breast cancer.”

The public entry window for the Stirling Scottish Marathon has closed but you can still run for a charity. For more information visit greatrun.org/stirling