A FORMER Halifax rugby league star is set to pound the streets of the Big Apple.
Damieon Pickles, 37, played for his hometown club Halifax for four years during his career before retiring to become a policeman. He also played for Siddal ARLFC.
But although he has taken himself out of the scrum, father-of-three Damieon isn't giving his body a break and is busy training to run the New York Marathon – his second in two years.
He said: "I don't miss getting battered and squashed every week but a marathon is even worse. All those miles are a real back-breaker.
"I ran the London Marathon last year and it was a killer.
"I got overtaken by Scooby Doo and ran half the way with a man in a leotard so I am looking to do better this year.
"But just to finish something like that is a real achievement."
Damieon's wife, Lisa, and sons Charlie, three, and Alfie, four, will all be travelling to America to cheer him on.
"It will be amazing but I won't be able to enjoy it as much as them, so I'm strapping a video camera on my head to record all the sights as I go. I'll have to turn the sound down when I watch it again though, rather than hear myself wheezing."
Since retiring six years ago, Damieon has worked as a policeman in Saddleworth, Old-ham, but still returns home when he can and is hosting a fund-raising night tomorrow at 7pm at Lee Mount Club, Halifax.
He is running the November race for PHABkids, a charity that helps children and young adults with learning difficulties.