FINDING the motivation to run a marathon can be tricky - but for one runner this year his incentive is to beat Ed Balls.

Leigh MP Andy Burnham is determined to finish ahead of the Shadow Chancellor when he takes on the London Marathon for the first time on April 13.

He is running the 26.2 miles to raise money and awareness for Wigan and Leigh Hospice.

“I can be seen at weekends cutting a lonely figure on the East Lancs road in the wind and the sleet,” he said.

“But what keeps me going is the knowledge that money raised will help to fund the important work that Wigan and Leigh Hospice undertakes across Leigh and the borough.”

And when asked what his target was for the marathon, Andy replied: “To finish ahead of Ed Balls - obviously.”

All the money he raises will go towards the Hospice in your Home Service which takes the skills, ethos and practical nursing care associated with the Hindley-based hospice into the home environment, seven days a week.

It is provided by a small team of Qualified Nurses and Healthcare Assistants and aims to offer more time with patients and to give practical support and nursing care to patients and their carers.

After testing in four pilot areas, the hospice - which needs to raise £7,000 a day to keep its services going - is looking to roll out the service across the local community.

Alan Baron, Chief Executive of Wigan & Leigh Hospice said: “We are delighted that Andy has chosen to support the hospice. Andy has been a great supporter over many years. We wish him well on his run and I, for one, am sure that he can beat Ed Balls.”

To donate, visit