Pair using leg-power to help

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A pair of close friends are making a marathon effort for a cause close to both their hearts.

Fitness fanatics Rachael Slater and Michael Osinski-Gray are gearing up for the Manchester marathon on Sunday, April 10 – to raise money for Headway Blackpool, Fylde and Wyre.

The charity provides support, information and social activities for local people affected by acquired brain injury. Both of the friends have very special reasons for wanting to help the charity.

It will be the first marathon Rachael, of Marton, who works as a partnership officer for Blackpool Council has run – but it will be Michael’s 20th.

Michael, 33, of Poulton, who works as a conductor for Northern Rail, said: “Myself and Rachael decided to do this over the Christmas period, after realising we both had a connection to the charity.

“My stepfather had a bike accident, where he was knocked off his bike by a drunk-driver, and sustained serious head injuries.

“Once he was out of danger, he was referred to Headway for rehabilitation – where they helped him relearn how to speak and other important life-skills.

“A close friend of Rachael discovered she had a brain tumour and Headway also helped her and her family with support, with her rehabilitation and recovery.

“We started training on January 1, getting up at 5am to run before work, three to four times a week – so far, we have cocked up more than 500 practice miles.

“This includes running from Preston to Blackpool in wet, windy and below freezing conditions.

“It will be my 20th marathon, but Rachael’s first ever marathon, and the training has been tough so far – but it’s nothing compared to the great work and support Headway provides, along with the daily challenges met by Headway and the people who use it.”

To support the pair, visit and search for Michael Osinski-Gray. To find out more about Headway, visit