A COUNCILLOR'S marathon heroics are set to benefit the whole community as he funds improvements to Homer Hill Park.

After a NHS health check forced Cllr Richard Body to radically change his lifestyle after he was diagnosed as obese, the Cradley and Wollescote representative took up running, and while shedding the weight he decided to put his new found fitness to good use.

The councillor completed the Gloucester City Marathon earlier this month, and now has his eyes set on taking part in the Birmingham International Marathon on October 15.

As chairman of the Friends of Homer Hill Park group, Cllr Body is using his sponsorship money to fund a fitness track and exercise equipment on the park’s looped path.

He set a target of £1,000, but has already smashed his aim thanks to a hefty donation from a kind-hearted local business.

Cllr Body said: “I’m delighted to have already raised over £1,500, which was very much in part to Windmill Supermarket who handed me a cheque for £1,000.

“This donation means we can start work on getting the fitness equipment installed later this year, and with the extra money we can make even more improvements.

“I want to include more pieces of apparatus, as well as notice boards so people know how to use the equipment and what exercises they can do on them.

“This park has been a big help to me losing my weight and not everyone can afford to pay to go to the gym, so I want it to be a great place for the community to exercise.”

The day of marathon did not get off to the best of starts for Cllr Body after finding his car windows had been smashed and items stolen from his glove box.

“It wasn’t the best preparation before a big run,” he said. “As I didn’t have time to deal with it in the morning I had to pick myself back up and get on with the race, but it was on my mind throughout.

“But the race went well and I’m set to have a knee operation in the next few weeks, so I will hopefully be in even better shape for the Birmingham Marathon.”