FORMER Wales football captain Gary Speed is preparing for a huge new sporting challenge when he runs the London Marathon.

The 41-year-old ex-Leeds, Everton, Newcastle and Bolton midfielder, who hails from  Mancot, will run the race on April 25 to raise money for The Sir Bobby Robson Foundation, in memory of the late former England manager.

Speed, who played under Sir Bobby at Newcastle United, was the first player to make 500 appearances in the Premier League and is also Wales’ most capped outfield player.

He said of his former boss: “He has done a lot for me.

“He has given me the inspiration to go and do it. He knew how to deal with people and when we went out on the pitch we were prepared to run through a brick wall for him.

“He left a big mark on me. I’m proud to do it in his honour.

“He always went out of his way to do things for other people.

“Training is difficult with time. I’ve not done as much as I would have liked but I suppose everybody is in the same boat. Hopefully I will get round.”

The former Hawarden High School pupil now lives in Chester and is currently coaching at Championship side Sheffield United.

Sir Bobby, who guided England to the semi-finals of the 1990 World Cup, died in July last year from cancer. His foundation was set up to raise money to help the early detection and treatment of the disease.

If you would like to sponsor Gary, go to /garyspeed11