A FATHER-of-three who has defied doctors and lived with bowel cancer for two years has begun an ambitious attempt to run six mar-athons in six months.

Ben Ashworth, 35, is in the middle of chemotherapy for the terminal disease, having already surpassed the six to 12-month prognosis given to him more than a year ago.

And now Ben, who worked for Blackburn with Darwen’s library service for nine years at Blackburn and Mill Hill libraries, has embarked on a 156-mile journey that will end in Berlin, and he has already conquered his first. Ben, who always enjoyed running before his diagnosis, said he first signed up for the Berlin Marathon on September 28.

He said: “I thought it was a bit far away, so I signed up for the Blackpool Marathon as well, which took place last month.

“I was due to take part in the race in March 2012, but I was diagnosed with bowel cancer so I couldn’t do it.

“Once I had signed up for those two, I decided to fill in the gaps and make it a proper charity challenge.”

The runs will raise money for CLIC Sargent, Beating Bowel Cancer, Macmillan and the Rosemere Cancer Care.

Inspirational Ben, whose wife Louise was three months’ pregnant with their now 21-month-old daughter Heidi at the time of the diagnosis, had just been accepted to study a PGCE in Cumbria, and planned to become a primary school teacher.

After giving up work due to his illness, Ben said his family, which also includes daughters Skye, nine, and Isobel, four, as well as his former colleagues, have been very supportive.

He said: “They keep me going. It is difficult to feel grumpy when you have got these smiling faces looking at you.

“I loved working in Blackburn. The people were great, and I still feel part of the team as they have been really supportive and helped me a lot.

“I have always been quite a positive person, so I do not consider myself a cancer sufferer, because I am trying to make the best of the opportunities that having cancer has presented.

“It is terminal, but I have got tonnes of time to spend with my family.

“I always wanted to run a marathon and not a lot of people, not to mention cancer patients, get that chance.

“So, to say I’m doing six feels amazing.”

Ben, who lives in Preston, is now in training for the Windermere Marathon on Sunday, which he said was ‘scarily hilly’.

Then he will take part in races in Wakefield on June 29, Northampton on July 26, and the Isle of Man on August 10, ahead of the event in Berlin.

To sponsor Ben, visit www.uk.virginmoneygiving.com/BensBowelMovements