A SOMERTON man will be taking on Newport half marathon challenge today to raise money for St David’s Hospice Care in memory of his brother-in-law.

Ray Bird, 39, is one of the 1,350 runners who will take to the city's streets aiming to complete the 13.1mile challenge.

Mr Bird is raising money for the hospice in memory of his brother-in-law Steven Lewis, who died of stomach cancer aged just 31.

Mr Lewis, who was a lifeguard, was cared for by St David's Hospice in Malpas and his mother Jackie has since raised £22,000 in aid of the charity.

Mr Bird, who has never taken part in a half marathon before, says he wanted to raise funds for the charity which cared for and supported Mr Lewis and his family throughout his illness.

He said: “When he was going through it all they were there, so i just wanted to give back to the charity which supported him when times were bad while keeping his memory alive. I’ve never done anything like this before, and it’s a bit daunting to be honest. But I’ve been doing a bit of training and I’m as ready as I’ll ever be.

“Steve was hugely sporty and he always did a lot for charity so i know he would be proud of all of us taking part.”

The Argus reported on Wednesday how St Julian's School teacher Kate Waters will also be running in memory of Mr Lewis who was her school friend.

Today's race will start at 9am at Rodney Parade.

Chrome Blue Physiotherapy has been set up from 6am onwards offering warm up advice and treatment for runners.

There will be plenty of support throughout the event with runners being led by a fully marshalled lead cyclist and marshals dotted around the circuit pointing runners in the right direction for the duration of the race.

There will be water stations at the 4 mile, 5.5 mile, 8.5 mile, 10.5 mile and 12 mile points as well as at the finish, where staff from Spytty Tesco will be handing out water and apples.

Chrome Blue Physiotherapy will also be at Rodney Parade at the end of the race, treating any runners with injuries.

For spectators, the place to be is the Riverfront. Runners will twice pass this point and the majority of the day’s entertainment will be situated here.

NoFit State circus will have a fire eater, stilt walker and hula hoop artist providing performances while other entertainment will be provided on the day.

The Riverfront Theatre will be open from 8am to 12pm for spectators to buy hot food and drinks to keep warm.

Kris Broome, of St David’s Hospice Care, said: “The Riverfront Theatre is opening its doors and it promises to be a great event.

“I’d encourage everyone that is thinking about getting involved in watching this to do so as it can really encourage the runners.”

The Kingsway Car Park will be open at 7am and will cost £1 to park in. There will be no parking along Rodney Road and surrounding streets as the roads will be closed for the event.