Danny_Crates_head_and_shouldersAs an international athlete for 12 years, it may come as some surprise to hear that the longest run I have ever done is nine miles.

And believe me that it has been an unpleasant experience for me on my Sunday recovery runs.

Recovery, I think not!

It can safely be said that me and long distance running is a real hate-hate relationship.

So with that in mind, what better way to spend Sunday April 17, 2011, than running the Virgin London Marathon?

I figured that being a runner, the marathon is a must-do, tick-off-the-list event.

All that said, I am really looking forward to the challenge, and most importantly the experience. I will be running for SportsAid, a fantastic charity, helping the next generation of sports men and women.

So, how is the training going?

Well I was getting back into the running by November 2010, as well as still playing a bit of rugby. Nothing great, just some steady running.

Unfortunately I then suffered the first bad cold of the season, so I was out for two weeks.

I was just getting back again when one of my delightful children decided to share another cold with me – two more weeks out. Add to that a lot of snow. Not the best start to my Marathon campaign.

So where am I now?

Well, back running again, I have enlisted the help of a coach who was involved with the Paralympic endurance squad. When he stopped laughing, he set about giving me some great advice.

I am now up to 11 miles on my weekend run, so have beaten my all-time longest distance, and plan to increase this week-on-week.

I hope to complete a half marathon about four weeks prior to the London marathon.

So please help me drag my sorry backside around the course by sponsoring me at Virgin Money Giving.

A few well-chosen words to help me chuckle my way around would not go a miss either!

Danny Crates is one of Britain's most recognisable Paralympians having won gold in the 800 metres T46 final at the Athens 2004 Paralympic Games, an event in which he holds the world record. Crates also won a Paralympic bronze medal in the 400m T46 final at the Sydney 2000 Games. In 2008, Crates received the honour of carrying the British flag at the Opening Ceremony of the Beijing 2008 Paralympics. He retired as an athlete at the 2009 London Grand Prix at Crystal Palace and now works as a television presenter