A RUGBY player who “hated” running is getting ready to tackle a marathon in memory of his friend.

Duncan McLean was just 20 years old when he passed away from a previously undiagnosed brain tumour in 2016.

Since then, family and friends have raised thousands of pounds for the Brain Tumour Charity.

Murray West, who grew up in North Berwick, is hoping to add to that total by pulling on his running shoes to tackle the Copenhagen Marathon.

Murray, who played rugby for his hometown club North Berwick RFC, described Duncan, who also represented the club, as “a friendly guy that was just good fun to be around”.

He told the Courier his reaction to hearing about Duncan’s death and said: “I was across in Rome for the rugby and watching Scotland.

READ MORE: Fund set up in memory of Duncan McLean tops £100,000 mark

“I probably went from one of the best days in terms of being with family and friends watching Scotland beat Italy, and then just the next day, still in Rome and finding out he had passed away.

“We were not completely aware; one or two of his friends knew it was serious but kept it quiet.

“He was literally put into hospital on Friday and died on the Sunday.”

Murray, who lives in London, has started training for the marathon, which takes place in the Danish capital on May 5.

However, he revealed that running was not something he always enjoyed.

He said: “At the start of last year, I got into running. Something I always hated was running and I got my fitness through playing rugby.

“Then I realised the mental health benefits of running, of doing something outside, and I kind of gave myself a challenge last year to run some half marathons.

“I am still scared of running the marathon.

“I think it was one of my flatmates who put himself in for it and I thought ‘why not do it?’

“I want to challenge myself this year with something different and I am putting a focus towards it.

“It is tough. There are plenty of people who do marathons all the time but, mentally, it will be tough for me.

“I am trying to do as much as possible to make it easier!”

READ MORE: Dad and sister running marathon in Duncan McLean’s memory

And one of the key things keeping Murray, who works for Shopify, motivated for the challenge is the prospect of raising funds for the charity.

The Brain Tumour Charity is dedicated to funding research, raising awareness of brain tumours, reducing diagnosis times and providing support and information for people with brain tumours, their families and friends.

Already, 29-year-old Murray has passed the £1,000 marker for his fundraising total.

The former North Berwick High School pupil, who enjoyed a previous visit to the Scandinavian city, stressed that there were a lot of charities doing important work but added: “You cannot give money to each one but I always tried to give to The Brain Tumour Charity.

“That is the one that I picked and thought that is the one I want to do it for.

“It is something that I am pretty passionate about.

“It has been eight years since Duncan died and it is keeping him in our memories in a good way and, selfishly, it is good motivation to myself.”

Duncan’s dad Iain – no stranger to a marathon himself, having completed the London Marathon in 2021 – thanked Murray for his efforts.

He said: “Someone decides they are going to do something every six months, every year, in Duncan’s memory.

“Murray was a good pal of Duncan from when they were boys, when they were teenagers.”

To make a donation, go to justgiving.com/page/murray-west-1704225154966