FORMER St Mirren manager Alex Rae is swapping football boots for running shoes as he takes part in the London Marathon for charity.

The ex-footballer, who played for clubs both north and south of the border including Rangers, Dundee, Sunderland and Wolverhampton Wanderers, says the item has always been on his “bucket list” but feels it is a “privilege” to do it for a good cause.

Training is well underway for the 50-year-old, who is taking part in the 26.2 mile challenge to raise funds for veterans’ charity Erskine.

Erskine, which was founded in 1916 to treat wounded servicemen returning from war, now helps veterans and their spouses across four care homes and cottages in Bishopton.

Alex recently visited The Erskine Home to meet some of the residents his fundraising will support.

He said: “This will be my first marathon and it is a privilege to be running it for Erskine.

“They are a terrific charity.

“Erskine’s Veterans have given so much for us I feel this is my opportunity to give something back to them.

“A lot of the clubs I have played for over the years have had a strong connection with the military.

“I am following a 20 week training programme and am looking forward to the challenge.”

Alex has received the backing of the Rangers Supporters Erskine Appeal (RSEA), with the former footballer also bagging shirt sponsorship from Simms Funeral Directors in Glasgow and Vital Human Resources in Bellshill.

Joma have also donated his running kit.

Alex added: “Last year I celebrated my 50th Birthday, so I decided to mark this milestone by ticking off an item that’s always been on my bucket list.

“Once I made my mind up to take part in the race, I thought it would be a great idea to use the occasion to raise money for the four wonderful Erskine Homes and the Veterans in their care.

“Please help me to help Erskine and give what ever you can.”

Erskine’s Head of Fundraising and Communications Sara Bannerman said: “We are delighted that Alex has chosen to support Erskine by running the London Marathon.

“We wish him all the very best with his training and on the big day.

“On April 26 we will definitely be cheering him on up here in Scotland!

“It is thanks to people like Alex we are able to care for and assist almost 1000 Veterans each year through our nursing homes, accommodation, activities and employment support.”

You can support Alex by donating to his Virgin Money Giving Page.

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