A DOG owner from Wimborne, who was a novice runner just one year ago, is now taking on the London Marathon thanks to her training buddy, Murphy.

The five-year-old Golden Retriever has helped Ruth Oliver train for Sunday’s 26.2 mile run.

Ruth, who is 51-years-old, said she has always watched the London Marathon on television and thought how much she would love to take part.

“I joined a running group designed for complete beginners called Run Blandford last year. Everyone was so encouraging and welcoming on my first visit that my love of running grew and I discovered new friends through the group.

“After taking part in the New Forest half marathon last September with friends from the club, I decided it would be great to have a new goal to train for and entered London.”

Every dog owner knows that a happy dog needs lots of exercise and Ruth says training for the marathon has been a win-win situation for her and Murphy.

“I'm exercising Murphy and putting in the miles needed for marathon training at the same time and he's a great running mate,” she said.

“He won't be able to be in London with me, but I will be wearing a brooch I've made from his hair on my t-shirt on Sunday.”

Murphy, who makes regular visits to local care homes with the charity Caring Canines, has also been able to help with fundraising for Ruth's chosen charity, Save the Rhino International.

“Hillside Vets have been very supportive and had a collection box for us on reception. One complete stranger put in a cheque for £100,” Ruth said.

She added: “Many of the volunteers from Caring Canines, as well as some of the residents in the local care homes, will be glued to the BBC coverage and willing me to finish line.”

Regular training runs for the pair included Badbury Rings, Wareham Forest, Moreton and Poole Quay to Sandbanks, but Ruth is looking forward to seeing the sights of London while running this weekend.

“I'm nervous but also very excited,” she said. “The furthest I've run is 22 miles from Poole to Hengistbury Head and back, but I'm hoping the atmosphere and crowds will get me round the additional four miles.”