LIAM Kilby would be the last person to describe himself as a keen runner.

But a family connection has made the 31-year-old from Little Clarendon Street, Oxford, determined to complete this year’s Oxford Town & Gown 10km race.

The run, in its 31st year, has raised more than £1m for the Muscular Dystrophy Campaign – a disease which Mr Kilby’s great-uncle Chris Sherratt suffered from.

Mr Kilby said: “I didn’t meet him until I was about 10 in the 1990s, by which time he was in his 40s and already in a care home.

“He was still quite able bodied, he could hold his head up and there was nothing apart from the fact he was in a wheelchair that would give away his condition.

“We would see him about once a month and just seeing the progression of the disease taking hold, for a teenager who didn’t really know what it was, was quite sobering.

“Towards the end, he couldn’t properly lift his head, he couldn’t sit up straight.”

It wasn’t until the disease was quite advanced and Mr Sherratt struggled to walk up stairs that he was diagnosed.

Mr Sherratt died in 2005 at the age of 55 from heart problems brought on by the disease. He had a form of the condition known as Becker muscular dystrophy.

The disease is passed on genetically, and Mr Kilby had to be tested to see if he had the condition.

He said: “It’s just luck I don’t have it – I have seen what it can do.

“If I can do anything at all to raise a bit of money, raise awareness, and hopefully find a cure, I want to do it.”

Before he started training, Mr Kilby, who works for Oxford University Press, hadn’t run more than 400 metres in years.

He initially set himself a target of completing the course on Sunday, May 13, in under an hour.

Now he hopes to make it round in 45-50 minutes.

Organisers are hoping to sign up 3,500 runners ready to pound the streets of Oxford, and have set a fundraising target of £120,000 for this year’s race.

  • To sponsor Mr Kilby, click on the link.
  • For more information about the race or to enter, email or call 0207 803 4820.