WHILE more than 50 of their teammates are battling around the streets of London this coming Sunday, four Reading Roadrunners will be competing in their twin town’s big race, the Dusseldorf Marathon.

The four lucky runners will be in Germany as guests of the Reading Dusseldorf Association.

Thanks to the long-standing link between our town and the Westphalian city the four - Kerry Eastwood, Sarah Hicks, David Caswell and Ashley Middlewick - will have their entries and accommodation paid for by their hosts.

They will also be treated to a sightseeing tour and a post-race dinner.

The Germans’ benevolence is the latest in a series of kindnesses between the two towns which stretch back to 1947. The two were officially ‘twinned’ in 1975.

The Dusseldorf four got their chance to travel after winning places in a Roadrunners’ ballot, which provided a good balance with two experienced male marathoners and two inexperienced ladies.

Ultra-runner Ashley, 32, is the quickest of the quartet and will be looking to improve his already sub-3hrs personal best time on the flat German course.

The race represents a big personal milestone for 37-year-old Kerry. She explained: “Five years ago I was involved in a near-fatal accident. I was so badly injured I had to learn to walk again. Now here I am off to run a marathon.

“To have the opportunity to represent not only the Roadrunners but also the town of Reading in Dusseldorf is an exciting one.

“The hospitality of the city of Dusseldorf and the twinning association has already been welcoming and we are looking forward to the adventure.

“I’ve been putting into action a training plan based on time on my feet rather than mileage. Using park runs and local races have also helped to keep my motivation going.

“I’m hoping to complete the marathon in five hours and 45 minutes, or search and rescue will be needed. It will be an experience to remember either way.”

Roadrunners chairman Phil Reay said: “Our club is extremely grateful that our runners will be guests of the mayor’s office of the city of Dusseldorf.

“Robert Dimmock, vice-chair of the Reading Dusseldorf Association, has been instrumental in fostering the relationship and made it all happen along with Andrea Kamp-Buddelmeyer from the Dusseldorf mayor’s sports office. He said: “Many thanks to the Düsseldorf Marathon organisers. Reading Roadrunners are proud to be representing our town in the big race of our European twin.”