SOUTHAMPTON Marathon is now less than a month away.

One runner, Alex Willis, is not just looking to complete the course, but to raise funds to tackle ocean extinction.

Having watched a documentary last year that featured conservation society Sea Shepherd, the 26-year-old decided to run the full marathon in support of the charity.

Sea Shepherd focuses on the rapidity of ocean deterioration, and a mission to protect the world’s oceans from illegal exploitation and environmental destruction.

Alex, from Stevenage, said: “I’ve never run a full marathon before and wanted to challenge myself.

“I started to think about it more and decided I wanted to do it for a conservation charity, rather than purely for myself.

“Knowing about the state that the oceans were in, I set up a page in support of Sea Shepherd.

“For me personally, doing things to help stop species extinction is important.

“It’s an amazing world with so much to see and experience.

“I haven’t run for charity before this, but it seems like a great way to raise awareness and money at the same time and completing a full marathon will be a great accomplishment for me too.”

Nikki Ress, managing director of the event, said: “We are delighted to have Alex join us for the ABP Southampton Marathon for his first ever full marathon.

“As Southampton is a maritime city it is really important that we are aware of the impact our actions have on the sea.

“We are, this year, making a huge effort to ‘go green’ by drastically reducing the amount of plastic involved with the event through packaging bottles, using only recyclable bags, and ensuring the lead car is electric.”

The ABP Southampton Marathon takes place on May 5.

It will feature a marathon, half marathon, a 10K and a children’s fun run.

All races start and finish in the city centre, and go past landmarks including the Bargate, Itchen Bridge, Weston Shore, Riverside Park and the Common.