Yorkshire's former Le Mans 24 Hour winner Guy Smith is swapping one gruelling marathon for another much closer to home next year.
Smith, from Beverley, will compete in his first-ever marathon when the motor race ace competes for the British Racing Driver's Club (BRDC) team in the London Marathon next April.
"I've always wanted to run a marathon -- it's the ultimate challenge of mind and body," confirmed Smith who will be raising money for children's cancer charity, CLIC Sargent.
"I like to push myself and set new targets while the marathon will get me in mental and physical shape for the 2010 Le Mans race which takes place less than two months later."
Smith, who has raced in the twice-around-the-clock Le Mans motor race in France on six occasions -- winning the 2003 event for Bentley -- runs regularly as part of his normal fitness programme.
Guy added: "Running is part of my daily training regime but I've absolutely no idea how I will fare over 26 miles!
"My motor racing 'year' begins in March with a 12 hour race, so training for the London Marathon should also get me in tip-top shape for the start of the American Le Mans Series."
Smith and his fellow BRDC team members are aiming to raise GBP50,000 for the UK's leading children's cancer charity.
"Every day 10 families are told their child has cancer and as parent, I cannot imagine how devastating that must be," continued Guy. "If I can help in some small way by raising much needed funds for this organisation to help them continue the all round care and support they offer to families, then that will be extremely worthwhile."
Guy has not yet set himself a target time for the 2010 Virgin London Marathon which takes place on Sunday 25 April.
Guy concluded: "Like any professional sports person, I'm incredibly competitive whatever I'm doing and competing in the London Marathon will be no different -- I'll be looking to beat the other motor racing driver to start with.
"I've no idea on what my finishing time could be but as I step up my training in the New Year, I guess I'll get a better idea."
Anyone wishing to sponsor Guy can do so by going to www.justgiving.com/BRDC-marathon-legends and adding his name in the message box.
Meanwhile Smith, aged 35, has committed to a Celebrity Kart Race at the 2010 Autosport International Racing Car Show at the National Exhibition Centre near Birmingham on Friday 15 January.
Smith, who will contest the nine-race American Le Mans Series in North America for the 11th consecutive year, will be raising money for the Racing 4 Charity organisation along with past fellow Le Mans winners David Brabham, one of the founders of the annual kart event, and Allan McNish.
-credit: guy smith