Marathon minister prepares to take to the streets of London

Methodist minister Ron Morris has vowed to be a winner in theLondon Marathon this Sunday. He is predicting he will come first inthe category for retired 68-year-old Texan preachers running theirfirst marathon.

Despite taking Sunday 14 April off from the pulpit, the Rev RonMorris said he would not forget his usual commitments. He will bewearing a t-shirt that says `I should be in church' on the frontand `You should too' on the back.'

He is hoping his marathon efforts will raise up to £7,000 forthree Methodist churches where he is minister in Shipley, WestYorkshire. Proceeds from his run will help fund roof repairs atHall Royd, a new heating system at Wrose and disabled toiletfacilities at Crag Road.

Ron retired as minister of St Luke's United Methodist Church,Houston, Texas, last year but came out of retirement to move toBritain to become minister at Hall Royd, Wrose and Crag Roadchurches for a year.

The former college basketball player said: "I've got three goals- to finish alive, to finish in six hours or less and to raise asmuch money as possible for the three churches. Until I came overhere I'd never even jogged but I've always kept myself fairly fitand am really looking forward to London.'

The minister's coach and running partner is fellow Methodist JimParrish, a 65-year-old marathon veteran and retired accountant. Jimis aiming to raise £1,000 for schemes in Africa run by theMethodist Relief and Development Fund.