Keen South African runner meets Virgin London Marathon winner Kebede ahead of the big race

A FANATIC runner who jetted into Saffron Walden this week ahead of the Virgin London Marathon is just days away from fulfilling his dream.

Simon Nkosi has run numerous marathons in his home country over the past 20 years and recently completed his seventh Comrades Marathon – a 52-miles run from Pietermaritzburg to Durban – achieving a bronze medal.

Now, thanks to an international project, the 54-year-old is in London ahead of the prestigious race.

He is in the UK for the first time as part of an international project set up by the Motor Neurone Disease Association Cambridgeshire branch. He is looking to raise �3000 for the branch.

On Thursday he took time to tour the capital, before collecting his marathon kit during a visit to the Tower hotel where he also met 2010 winner Tsegaye Kebede. The Ethiopian dominated the race 12 months ago, powering away from his rivals to win in 2 hrs 5 mins 19 secs. Now he is eyeing an even quicker time in his sights - Haile Gebrselassie’s world record of 2:03:59.

As for Simon, he is looking for a more modest but respectable finishing time of about four hours.