KEEN runner Lou Murphy has taken part in many marathons before, but never one that meant so much.
Lou, of the Red Lion in Hooe, will pull her trainers on for the Hastings Half Marathon on March 25 to raise funds for Mo Bourner, the teenager whose story touched everyone who heard about it.
Mo, a former pupil at Ninfield Primary School, was just 15 when he was savagely attacked on Bexhill seafront in October.
His injury left him barely alive but he recovered and, though brain damaged and extensively paralysed, he is making encouraging progress.
His father Pete, a farmer from Hooe, admits Mo has “a long and tough road back” but credits Mo’s brother Azis, friends and girlfriend Paige for getting his son through a desperate time.
Pete said Mo - now at Tabworth Court for intensive rehabilitation - is finding it difficult to understand the unexpected violence against him and its lasting impact.
Pete told the Observer: “It has touched his life forever.
“He was supposed to be doing his GCSEs now, and he can’t do any of that.
“His friends are getting mopeds because they are 16, which he wanted to do.
“He had Christmas in hospital, his birthday in hospital, then for my birthday he was at Tabworth.
“He said ‘I am losing time, dad. I should be out there enjoying myself’.
“But he is actually doing well. He had a severe brain injury and his life has been damaged, but hopefully he can get back on his feet and go on to have an amazing life. And he will have an amazing life.
“It’s about keeping him strong and motivated now.”
Pete realises that Mo will need a great deal of expensive equipment in the future, which is where Lou comes in.
She wants to raise the money to buy a specialised wheelchair, which Mo will need especially when he is back on the farm.
She is a close family friend and says Mo has a place in the hearts of many customers and neighbours of the village pub where she and sister Sam White work.
She is doing the run with Jack Beeson Smith who lives locally and is also a friend of Pete’s.
They will be joined by Sharon Bell, whose son Jamie suffered muscular dystrophy, Tanya Cox, and Bekky O’Hara.
Sharon has already pledged £500 to Lou, and is an experienced marathon-running fundraiser herself.
This week Lou reckoned she had £900 already promised but is aiming for “a good deal of money for this poor family who have been to hell and back, time and time again, over the past few months.”
She added: “I have had an overwhelming response with regards to sponsorship this weekend from my customers and staff from the pub.”
Anyone who would like to donate can do so by sending a cheque to the Red Lion in Hooe, or by calling Lou on 0798931299.