A FATHER and son team are set to run one of the hardest marathons in the world to raise funds for disabled children.

Charity founder Chris Read and his son Ben Read will travel to China today in the hopes of finishing the Great Wall Marathon.

Both men are keen runners and have completed 116 marathons between them.

The pair decided to take on the challenge after Mr Read, from Newton Aycliffe, asked his son to choose a marathon to run in celebration of his 21st birthday.

He said: "I thought he’d pick somewhere like Manchester or Edinburgh but he picked the marathon with the highest drop out percentage.

"I love running I’ve been doing marathons since I was 18. This is the first time where I’m thinking I don’t know if I can do it.

"The route is very uneven because of the steps so it will be really hard. It is going to be 80 degrees with a lot of humidity.

"I went to China a couple of years ago with my wife it was brilliant. It will be lovely to do a marathon over there with my son."

The first Great Wall Marathon took place in 1999.

It has seen 2,500 runners from over 60 nations complete the route and is known as one of the hardest marathons in the world.

The route leads participants through the lower valley and into the villages.

The pair have self funded the trip and will donate money raised to Mr Read's A Smile for A Child charity.

He set up the organisation 12 years ago after he was made redundant from his career at Waitrose.

Mr Read wanted to give something back and decided to launch the charity.

He has completed marathons across the world and was introduced to the sport after he joined a running club where he was coached by former runner David Bedford.

The pair hope to raise £1,000 to fund vital physiotherapy equipment for children and buy four months of physiotherapy for two disabled youngsters.

They have raised £615 so far.

To donate to the cause visit justgiving.com/fundraising/ben-read8