TWELVE runners are set to pound the streets of London for an international charity headquartered in Colchester.

The Lepra supporters are on the final countdown to this year’s London Marathon on Sunday April 28.

Team members are from across the UK and around the world, including Columbia and Miami.

The charity, which is based in Middleborough, works to beat leprosy in India, Bangladesh and Mozambique by finding, diagnosing and treating people affected by the disease.

The charity has launched a Socks and Sandals appeal to raise funds as leprosy often damages the nerves in the feet.

It leaves sufferers susceptible to injuries and ulcers and the charity provides protective custom-made sandals to help people to walk comfortably.

First time Lepra marathon runner Paul Rinder said: “I was stunned and saddened to find out that leprosy is still so prevalent, as I had previously thought it was a disease of the past and especially as it is a curable disease.

“I wanted to run the London Marathon for Lepra as it is my local charity and it does such amazing work bringing relief to the most disadvantaged people affected by leprosy.

“I have a hugely supportive family who have helped in charitable donations and gave me lots of encouragement on a cold Sunday morning to continue training.”

Sophie Bailey-Smith, who is a previous intern at Lepra and from Colchester, is looking forward to taking part in the world famous race after injurying her knee during a hockey match.

She said: “My GP told me I had sprained my knee and needed to take time out of marathon training, but I was determined to continue.”

Sophie, who started an altered training plan added: “I am excited to be taking part in the marathon, and to be running for such a fantastic charity.’’

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