A South Tyneside runner is preparing to take on his first marathon in what will be an emotional tribute to his best friend.
Ryan Little has always wanted to test his endurance in a 26.2 mile event ever since he became old enough to take part in the Great North Run.
The marathon was an event his best friend Liam Curry had encouraged him to do but never got round to doing.
Now, he is in training as he looks to hit the roads of Manchester on April 7.
The run will be dedicated to Liam, 19, and his girlfriend Chloe Rutherford, 17, who were both killed in the Manchester Arena bomb attack in May 2017.
Ryan, a student paramedic said: “Doing a marathon is something I’ve always fancied doing and Liam was always pushing me to do one.
I’ve been back to Manchester a few times since and it is going to be emotional but I know they are going to be with me on the day every step of the way.Ryan Little
“I’ve never really bothered until now and doing the marathon in Manchester just feels fitting with what has happened.
“I’ve been back to Manchester a few times since and it is going to be emotional but I know they are going to be with me on the day every step of the way.”
Ryan has completed a number of Great North Runs but this is the first time he will take on a 26.2 mile route.
He added: “I was talking to Colin - the big pink dress man - about it as I knew he has done a couple of marathons.
“He asked me how much training I’d done and what time I wanted to do it in and all he said was ‘good luck’.
“I probably should have done more training than I have up to now, but I’m going out about four times a week and I’ve also been going to the gym.
“But I am feeling confident I’ll complete it.”
Ryan, who is continuing his Dry January fundraiser until the day of the marathon, will be using the event to raise money for the Chloe and Liam Together Forever Trust.
The charity was set up, by their parents, as a lasting legacy to the much-loved couple to support young performers and sportspeople to fulfil their potential with the help of bursaries.
The two areas were chosen as Chloe had a natural talent for performance while Liam was a gifted cricketer.
Since it’s launch more than £250,000 has been raised and more than £150,000 handed out in bursaries.