True Gritt

West Ham United sports scientist James Gritt will have the support of everybody at the club when he runs the 2011 Virgin London Marathon this Sunday.

A popular member of staff, 'Gritty' has got the backing of first-team players Matthew Upson, Scott Parker, Carlton Cole and Luis Boa Morte, who happily posed for a photograph at Chadwell Heath.

Gritt is running the 26 miles and 385 yards around the capital alongside his dad Steve in aid of the Brain and Spine Foundation in memory of his sister Hayley, who passed away at the age of 18 after being diagnosed with a brain tumour.

"Hayley waged a constant battle against a brain tumour that was first diagnosed early in her childhood," he said. "She battled many, many operations, and bouts of chemotherapy and radiotherapy, and never once gave up the fight. There is not a day that goes by when I do not think about her.

"This is my small way of giving something back.

"Even if I hardly know you at all, or if we don't know each other at all, please do not let this put you off donating. Please give generously, and please give what you can - any amount will be greatly appreciated.

"Running this marathon means the world to me."

The Brain and Spine Foundation provide information and support for adults and children affected by neurological conditions, while also developing training and tools for medical and educational professionals to assist people affected by brain and spine conditions.

For more information about the Foundation's work, visit  To donate, log on to