THIS weekend I will be running the London marathon, for the second time, and in support of another excellent local charity.

Last year I decided to set myself a personal challenge of running a marathon, having never really run more than 10km before, and now I want to give it another go. I have supported Up and Downs over a number of years with their events and thought this would be an ideal local charity to support. Their work is invaluable to so many people.

Physical activity and sport participation have a number of benefits which individuals and groups can use to improve their wellbeing. I have certainly found several benefits which have improved my physical and mental performance.

My role as an MP isn’t just about votes in Parliament, it’s also about trying to bring together many different parts of the community in Halesowen and Rowley Regis and to raise awareness of all the voluntary and charity work that is done across the area. And sport is a considerable feature right across our community. That’s why I have been pleased to join the campaign for a West Midlands Velodrome with campaigner David Viner from Halesowen Athletics Club. Our Mayor Andy Street has done a fantastic job in securing the 2022 Commonwealth Games for the region, and we need to make sure that we also reap the benefits from the legacy of these games.

As we are now in the spring, with summer in sight, I want to encourage as many people as possible to get involved in a local sports club or activity. Not just to feel the physical benefit, but also socialise with new people, and learn a new skill, or refine some old ones!