Two exhausted runners found the Paris marathon a welcome relief yesterday compared to their 177-mile journey to get to it from London.

Lloyd Hurrell and Simeon Bates, 24, from Epsom, both finished the Paris marathon despite aches, pains and big blisters resulting from their week-long run to the French capital.

The men, who have raised nearly £1,000 for Save the Children and an Indian orphanage so far, enjoyed the company of other runners and the luxury of water stops during the marathon.

By phone from the Louvre Museum in Paris this morning, Mr Bates said: "Being able to run without a backpack was such a relief and a load off our shoulders.

"The run was an amazing experience and a great opportunity to overcome some struggles."

Mr Bates finished the marathon in three hours and 37 minutes and Mr Hurrell in five hours and 22 minutes.

Mr Hurrell said: "I was aching. Over the six days the impact of running had taken its toll on my joints. I was limited by the amount of pain I could take in my joints."

The men spent Monday night in a barn in East Sussex, Tuesday night on the ferry from Newhaven port to Dieppe and Wednesday night in a tent in Forge-Les-Eaux.

Mr Bates said he had chronic pain in both ankles while running from Gisors to Forêt Domaniale de Saint-Germain-en-Laye on Friday.

After their last night in a tent, they ran the final stretch to the Eiffel Tower on Saturday.

The pair will be returning home tomorrow.

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