HUNDREDS of runners have helped boost an appeal to raise £250,000 to help a paralysed Grasmere man to continue living in the village where he grew up.

Forty-eight teams of five took part in the Ambleside and Kirkstone Rotary Marafun on Sunday, raising more than £15,000 towards the Will Clark Fund.

Will, 29, was paralysed from the neck down in July last year while on a charity bike ride at Thirlmere. He spent five months in a specialist spinal unit in Middlesbrough before being allowed to return home for Christmas.

The fund is being used to pay for alterations to make Will’s family home more disabled-friendly as well as to buy specialist equipment and pro-vide support the needs in Grasmere.

More than £100,000 has already been raised, including £25,000 donated by readers of The Westmorland Gazette to provide the former fellrunner with a specially adapted quad bike so he can once again roam the Lakeland fells.

The Marafun, starting at Rothay Park and taking in Rydal Water, involved teams of five running the 26.2 mile length of a marathon in relay.

One of the organisers, Allison Peak, said: “The Marafun was a fantastic success. We had teams from all over England, including London, Manchester, Durham and Lincolnshire. We also had single runners turning up on the day when they heard the event was on. It was a great day.

“Particularly poignant is that the winning men’s team was made up of Will’s own friends.”

Will was guest of honour at the Marafun, starting the race with the help of his father Martin and conducting the prizegiving at the end. Winning teams were: men’s, Van Jog On from Windermere; women’s, Mums on the Run from Lytham St Anne’s; mixed team, Dixies Midnight Runners, Ulverston. The Salutation Hotel award for the best-named team went to Scrambled Legs.