A SOUTHAMPTON man is attempting to inspire people by completing next years ABP Southampton Marathon, despite being last across the line last year.

Cerebral palsy sufferer Gus McKechnie took on a 26.2 mile course last year, using hiking sticks in the hope of finishing within six hours.

A combination of hot weather and blisters on his hands led to his finishing time of eight hours and 26 minutes.

The 43-year-old will take on the challenge again next year, and is hoping to inspire people of all ages to bounce back.

Gus said: “With anything in life, it can be difficult to find the motivation to try again if you don’t succeed on the first attempt.

"We’re naturally wired to fear failure and having the courage to give it another go takes real mental resilience.

"What I’m hoping to show people is that you can try again. What’s more, it’s an even sweeter victory when you achieve it second time around.”

His cerebral palsy means he has less function in the left-hand side of his body, but is able to complete every day life without crutches or a wheelchair most of the time.

He is a GetOutside champion for Ordnance Survey, where he works, and always trying to convince people to become more active.

“I really hope people take a look at what I’m doing and think ‘Ok, if he can do it then I can too’.” He said. “The feeling of finishing a marathon, no matter what place you come in, is amazing and I want other people to experience that.”

ABP Southampton Marathon organisers have praised Gus for setting an example to fellow runners.

Race director Chris Rees said: “Gus may not have finished in the time he’d hoped last year but we actually think he made the biggest achievement of all competitors on the day.

"To keep going with that steely determination after eight hours, despite knowing you’ve not hit the time you’d hoped, shows real mental grit. We will be cheering him on with real gusto come May.”

He hopes to raise money for Weldmar Hospice in Dorset and Wooden Spoon, which supports disadvantaged children, through his latest challenge.