A man from St Albans will run the London Marathon to raise money for Crimestoppers UK after his wife’s handbag was stolen as part of a distraction burglary.

Ralph Bartholomew decided to raise awareness of the crime charity after his wife was left shaken when two men entered her car and stole her handbag while their two young children were sitting in the back seat.

Mrs Bartholomew became distracted after a man approached her car to inform her, the car tyre was flat and then another man entered the car and stole her handbag in 2009.

At the time of the incident, the family were visiting London before they were about to make a permanent move to St Albans because Mr Bartholomew is originally from the USA.

Mr Bartholomew of Potters Field said: "The whole incident was very frustrating and scary. My wife was caught off guard and deceived.

"I think she was most shaken because the children were in the car. This is my way of doing my bit to support Crimestoppers which is such a vital community service.

"It is very important to keep crime at a low on our streets and I think the anonymous hotline is an important service." The 43-year-old said he decided to complete the marathon because "he isn’t getting any younger".

He said: "I wanted to do the marathon before I am unable to. It’s always something I have wanted to do and I wanted to do it when I was fit and able to run it in a good time.

"There will come a day sooner or later when it's impossible or at least a lot more difficult, so why not seize the day?"

Mr Bartholomew who is part of the Hertfordshire Baseball team said he has never completed a long distance run but is now training every day, where he has been setting himself milestone targets.

He hopes to run it in under 4 hours, which he admits is "fairly ambitious for someone’s first marathon."

Mr Bartholomew, who works in web design for University College London said: "My family has been really supportive and friends and family back in the States have been really generous with their donations.

"The London Marathon is unique and the way British people do it is very different to back in the states - especially the fancy dress.

"Since I recently acquired British citizenship, I hope this gives me another dot to connect as I seek to further my understanding of the traditions of this great country and British culture."

So far Mr Bartholomew has raised £900 and hopes to raise his target of £1,500. To sponsor him, visit http://uk.virginmoneygiving.com/ralphb