A RUNNER suffering from a rare kidney disease is preparing for an uphill battle to raise awareness of a hereditary condition affecting men in his family.

Phil Johnson, from York, is tackling the Plusnet Yorkshire Marathon on October 12 for Polycystic Kidney Disease (PKD) Charity - a disease the 33-year-old has been diagnosed with along with his eldest and middle brother, as well as many of his uncles and cousins.

The disease is a genetic disorder of the kidneys and often results in patients undergoing transplant operations to prolong their lives.

Phil said: "My goal was to get fit, drop some weight, and more importantly to raise money for the Polycystic Kidney Disease (PKD) Charity, which is very close to my heart.

"I suffer from PKD myself, along with both of my brothers. It has been passed through the family and affects many of my uncles and cousins.

"Over the years some of my uncles have had to undergo transplants, but more recently - just a couple of years ago in fact - my eldest brother was fortunate enough to receive a successful kidney transplant just one year after starting dialysis.

"He had his ups and downs and several stays in hospital through infections, but is now fit and healthy after being given a new lease of life thanks to the organ donor.

"Given all of the support that he received I felt it only right that I help to raise funds to support vital research into this condition which effects so many people."

Phil is being joined on the 26.2-mile course by his brother, a retired regimental sergeant major in the Coldstream Guards, who is running for the Combat Stress charity.

He served 26 years in the armed forces before being diagnosed with PKD.

Phil added: "My longest run so far is 20 miles, and I know that those last six will be pure hell. Yet I also know that crossing that finish line will probably be the single greatest achievement I have ever made."

For up to date marathon coverage and information go to www.thepress.co.uk where you can also join in the fun by sending us your stories, pictures and messages of support or email alexander.ross@thepress.co.uk

To sponsor Mr Johnson visit www.justgiving.com/philjpjohnson