FORMER paratrooper Ian Spackman is training for his eighth half-marathon despite being diagnosed with lung cancer. The 56-year-old from Cholsey said he has not let his illness stop him from taking part in long distance runs. He is gearing up to run the 13-mile race in Reading on March 2 and is raising money for Macmillan Cancer Support. Mr Spackman, who works as a safety steward at the Madjeski Stadium in Reading, said he was diagnosed with cancer in July 2012 after going to the doctors with a persistent cough. But he has battled through and raised more than £700 for Spinal Research in the Great North Run last year. He said: “The hospital thought the cancer would affect my running but I didn’t get out of breath at all. I’ve never ever failed to finish a race, so even if I have to walk, I will make sure I finish this race. When I push on, I can keep going for quite a long time.”

Mr Spackman, who served in the RAF for six years, ran his first London Marathon in 1991 and is planning to do the Great North Run in September.

He did his basic training at RAF Catterick and served at RAF Benson, where he worked as an administrator. While stationed at Benson, Mr Spackman used to run the 400m. He finished his service in 1985 after tours to Northern Ireland and the Falkland Islands as a catering assistant.

He lives in Honey Lane with his brother Terry who used to hold the record for the 100m at the Iffley Road track in Oxford. To donate, go to