A FATHER who pledged to walk a half-marathon on his crutches for charity just fell short of the finish line at the weekend - but says he is ready to take on the challenge again.

Britwell’s Tariq Hussain, 37, braved the Southend Half Marathon with old school pal, Mark Fox, in a bid to raise more than £1,000 for Windsor’s Thames Hospice.

Mr Hussain, of Wavell Gardens, Slough, lost one of his legs in a freak train accident in 2001 and has had numerous operations since, including for a prosthetic leg that would not take.

At the event on Sunday he managed to complete more than 9 miles of the 13 mile course on his crutches before having to retire due to hand blisters. But he and Mr Fox, of Pennine Road, Slough, still surpassed their target by raising more than £1,477 for the hospice.

Mr Hussain said: “Mark went on to finish.

“I got to nine-and-a-half miles and my wrist couldn’t take it anymore - it was very hot as well. But most of it was down to the pain.

“I am sorry to those who sponsored us and I will do it again and make sure it is done right. I think there is one coming up in Maidenhead soon.”

Mr Hussain admitted his plan had been ambitious but said participants had given him the strength to give it a good go.

The father of two said: “The elite runners, the officials, everyone, there was so much love there - they were so appreciative and encouraging. The crowds were amazing, everything was spot on - except for the heat and my wrists.”

Mr Hussain, a co-founder of Slough Sunday league side Real Milan, said he could be joined by his wife, Tricia, at the next challenge. In 2001 he was on the platform at Reading Railway Station, following a night out, when he fell into the path of an oncoming freight train that dragged him for a third of a mile. His leg was crushed and he also lost several fingers. He told The Observer this week that people had been largely supportive of his effort which just fell short - but he could not accept leaving it that way.

He added: “I had it in my head and this wasn’t what I wanted to achieve so I want to ensure we do something soon.

“We should be able to raise £1,600 this time.”

If you would still like to sponsor the pair go to www.justgiving.com and in the search box type ‘Tariq Hussain’ to find their Southend Half Marathon page.