Referee Steve Smith isn’t quite half the man he used to be, but players around the country cannot help but notice the transformation he has undergone in the past year.

Steve has lost almost five stone since enrolling in a gym 12 months ago. Now, he is continuing his fitness drive with two new challenges – while also raising money for two causes close to his heart.

Steve, one of only a handful of International Referees in England, has signed up for the Great Birmingham Run next month, and will follow that in October with what he describes as the greatest physical challenge he has ever attempted – Hyrox Birmingham.

Hyrox consists of eight 1km runs, each interspersed with physical challenges including sled-pulling, weighted lunges, rowing and skiing.

Spurring him on will be the fundraising he is doing for Birmingham Hospice and Macmillan Cancer Support, two charities who were there for Steve and his family in the midst of tragedy 15 years ago, when Steve’s sister Cat died from a brain tumour at the age of just 23, having been through surgery, radiotherapy and chemotherapy.

Steve said: “She was incredible, even during radiotherapy and chemotherapy. She didn’t complain and was always making plans for the future.

“She was supported throughout her battle by Macmillan and she spent the last few months of her life at John Taylor Hospice, now Birmingham Hospice, where their care was exceptional.

“When Cat died, our lives fell apart. John Taylor Hospice was there for us all and organised a counselling workshop so the whole family could begin to cope with her death.

“We have so many memories. We shared a very special Christmas Day and Cat loved a New Year’s Eve party with her friends. She lived her life well until she died.”

Steve and his family have raised more than £30,000 for the hospice in the past 15 years, and he hopes completing the 10km Great Birmingham Run on May 5 will add to that amount.

He said: “I’m regularly running 5km, but it’s still a work in progress building up to the Great Birmingham Run. I’ve yet to complete 10k in one run, but I will before the big day.”

To make a contribution, click here to visit Steve’s Just Giving page for the Great Birmingham Run.

The second challenge is on October 26, in aid of Macmillan.

Steve said: “Having been to watch last year’s event supporting fellow members of my gym, I came away saying ‘I want to do that’.

“It’ll be the greatest physical challenge I’ll have ever attempted. I’ve not set a time target, I just want to complete the course and I’m fully expecting this to take me two-plus hours.

“The support that Macmillan offered our family at the time of Cat’s death was incredible. They funded some of her treatment and offered support to the whole family, for which I am forever grateful.”

To make a contribution, click here to visit the Just Giving page for Hyrox Birmingham.