A LOCAL runner is relying on flower power to help him smash his own world record.

Owen Willis will be running the Yorkshire Marathon, dressed as a five-foot wide poppy.

Heis aiming to break his own record for the fastest marathon dressed as a three-dimensional plant.

Owen, who originally comes from Malton and now lives in Scarborough, wore the handmade outfit in London last April when he set his first record, coming in at just under five hours, securing a place in the current edition of the Guinness Book of World Records.

He has set a fundraising target of £5,000, which will be split between two armed forces charities, the Royal British Legion and SSAFA.

Owen, 50, a technical officer for the White Rose Home Improvement Agency in Ryedale and Scarborough, knows first-hand the benefits of his fundraising, as some of the money raised will fund adaptations to help disabled people and military veterans to lives in their own homes.

The father-of-three said: "I ran the hottest London Marathon ever dressed as a five-foot poppy and now I'm about to do York in high winds.

"The weather will present is own unique challenges, but I'm looking forward to breaking my own record with a bit of luck."

Owen has been training hard for the last six weeks, since recovering from a knee injury.

He made his costume using plastic heating pipework before covering it with red gabardine.

Simon O'Leary, assistant director of fundraising at RBL, said: "We're delighted that Owen has decided to get back into his poppy outfit to raise money for the Legion and we wish him every success in beating his own impressive record."

To support Owen in his fundraising visit www.justgiving.com/companyteams/BigPoppyMarathon or text RBLP66 £10 to 70070.

Owen’s great uncle, Digby Duggleby, died at the age of 27 and his name is commemorated on the Menin Gate at Ypres in Belgium.