A Southampton teacher and dog lover has set himself a challenge to run 1,111 miles, around the distance from London to Budapest, in 2024 to help dogs in need.

Ian Williamson has already passed the 30 mile mark with a few new year dashes around Riverside Park, often joined by his canine companion Wilson.

The 53-year-old, who works at Brookfield Community School in Warsash, is raising money for welfare charity Dogs Trust.

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He said: “Dogs are amazing and have the capacity to lift your mood and de-stress you. Life can sometimes be tough but whatever is going on, Wilson is there, without fail. He’s always excited to see me, wagging his tail and immediately wanting a cuddle when I come in from work. He changes my whole outlook. Wilson has been in my life since he was a puppy and he’s ten now. He never changes, he’s always there for me and he makes every single day better.

“Plus having a dog makes you get out and exercise and taking Wilson on his walks got me thinking about what I could do to help dogs that aren’t as fortunate as him and I came up with this idea! I can help other dogs whilst also doing something that is good for me, physically and mentally.”

Daily Echo: Wilson will put his best paw forward and accompany Ian on some of his shorter runs

Ian will be running around 100 miles a month, aiming to complete at least one marathon and travel further afield to run in order to raise the £1,111 - four ones for the four legs of a dog! 

Dogs Trust cares for 14,000 dogs across its network of 21 rehoming centres in the UK, who have found themselves without a home. The charity also offers support to dog owners suffering homelessness and those escaping domestic abuse, caring for their dogs until they can return to their owners or find new homes where they will be safe and loved. The charity also offers a free behaviour advice service with the aim of helping keep dogs and their owners together and campaigns on behalf of dogs, tackling issues such as puppy smuggling.

To pledge your support for Ian, visit justgiving.com/page/ian-williamson-1704204436118