A Reading man will be taking part in a 10 mile challenge this October to repeat his father's achievements and run in his memory.

Alec Parcell watched his dad, Robert, complete the Simplyhealth Great South Run in 2003 and hoped they would run it together one day, until his hopes were shattered when he suddenly passed away three years later.

Robert had suffered a fatal heart attack whilst playing in a football tournament, aged just 43.

Alec, now 24, from Tilehurst, will take on the Simplyhealth Great South Run on Sunday 21 October to raise money for the British Heart Foundation.

Alec said: “Having someone ripped away from you aged 12 is tough. You don't really understand the enormity of it until they really don't return home.

“He worked very hard to provide a life full of experiences for me and I learnt a lot from him.

“It is tough to handle but thanks to an amazingly supportive family and close friends I got on with life as I know he would have wanted me to. The journey continues, just without him by my side.

“Fortunately I have been very lucky to have some amazing experiences along the way that wouldn't have been possible without him and I thank him for being able to provide that for me.”

This year marks 15 years since his father completed the Simplyhealth Great South Run and Alec ran the Simplyhealth Junior Great South Run.

Alec will use his run to raise money for the British Heart Foundation, a charity close to his heart. He lives with a constant worry he could have a similar heart condition as his father and is attending regular check-ups.

He is excited and feels emotional to come back to Portsmouth, a city he studied at and watched his father complete the event in 2003.

He added: “I wanted to run it with him one day. Unfortunately this dream was shattered. However, he is always beside me offering support when I run and really gives me something extra in the last few miles of a race when I am finding it tough. I cannot wait to be sprinting over the finish line with him pulling me through!”

Alec will join 20,000 runners at the Simplyhealth Great South Run, which celebrates the iconic sites of Portsmouth across a virtually flat 10 mile course, including the Historic Dockyard and Spinnaker Tower.

The weekend also includes the Simplyhealth Great South 5k and the Simplyhealth Junior and Mini Great South Run, taking place the day before on Saturday 20 October.

For more information about the Simplyhealth Great South Run and to enter, visit: Greatrun.org/South