A FATHER and son took part in the Ormskirk Gingerbread 10k over the weekend to raise awareness of a rare condition.
Ben Jones, 6, suffers from Phelan-McDermid Syndrome, a genetic condition which means he has severe learning difficulties.
The Kingsbury school pupil has been unable to speak all his life but his family find other ways to communicate with him.
His dad Gary and mum Vicky, 40, are keen runners and one day Gary decided to take Ben out running with him .
Gary, 39, said: “Ben is quite a handful but he’s a very happy boy overall.
“One day I just decided to take him out running with me and pushed his buggy around the lanes near our home in Burscough.
“We got a few strange looks from passers-by but Ben seemed to love it and it became a regular thing.
“I thought entering a race like the Gingerbread 10k would be good as it would help raise awareness.
“We had a custom-made running buggy created for the race and now our next challenge is the Liverpool half marathon.”
Ben and Gary completed the race in an impressive 53 minutes 47 seconds and mum Vicky finished it in 50 minutes 28 seconds.
Phelan-McDermid syndrome is a genetic disorder caused by deletions or rearrangements on chromosome 22.
It is a rare condition and there are thought to be around 600 sufferers worldwide and 60 in the UK.
The family, who also have a four-year-old son Callum, travelled to the US last year to a Phelan-McDermid conference where they met other people with the condition and their families.
Gary said: “It was great to go to the conference and see other people that are coping with the condition.
“When Ben was diagnosed in 2011 we felt very lost as we didn’t know anything about the condition.
“Now we’ve met other families from the UK, however, and we all work to support each other.”