Cardigan second row Rob Connolly will be running the London Marathon in aid of NSPCC next month, but it was a desire to fight the flab that got the doting dad out pounding the streets in the first place.

Rob, 29, has never faced a marathon before but has been training hard on the roads around Cardigan - and the hard graft has worked wonders for his fitness and his weight.

“My initial motivation was purely to lose weight as ten years ago I weighed in at 26 stone five pounds, said Rob.

“I was really unhappy with my size and decided things needed to change.

“I wanted to lose weight for health reasons mainly but also to be a better rugby player — I am now down to 18 stone flat.”

Rob, who has been on a strict alcohol-free diet and is currently running up to 30 miles a week, has put rugby on the back-burner in recent weeks, but hopes to juggle training and a return to action for the Cardis during the next month.

“I really want to help Cardigan achieve its season ambition of securing promotion and to hopefully get to the final of the WRU Bowl if we can get past Amman United in the semi final,” he said.

“I have done a few half-marathons and really wanted to try a full marathon and test myself physically and mentally. I’m looking forward to it”.

Rob who works with BT is running as part of Team BT, in aid of the NSPCC. Team BT hopes the group will raise a combined £50,000.

“ First of all I want to finish it,” he said, “and secondly I have got my eyes on sub 4.30 – I am hoping I can achieve this as I will have my wife Sami, daughter Mari, my mum Mandy and brother Richard and his girlfriend Gemma waiting at the finish line.

“I feel very privileged to have been given this opportunity to take part in such a highly-sought after event and running the marathon will be a huge challenge for me,” said Rob.

“I would like to thank all who have offered their kind words of support and generous donations so far to this much deserved charity.”

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