For many, the 10K is a huge challenge and a useful exercise to help improve fitness. However, for Ben Cartwright, the event is part of a schedule to get him in peak physical condition, as he bids to become the West Midlands’ first-ever astronaut.

Hailing from Halesowen, Ben is hoping to sign up for the European Space Agency’s astronaut selection process when it next opens for applications.

The 23-year-old graduated with a Master’s degree in Electronic Engineering and Computer Science at Aston University and now lives in Didcot, near Oxford.

The Electronics Design Engineer is part of The Flame Trench, a community of British and American hobbyist engineers who research and build small satellites and rockets.

Ben now has ambitions to take his career to new heights and is on a mission to travel further than any other Midlander has before by signing up for the European Space Agency’s astronaut programme.

To meet the strict requirements of the Agency’s selection process Ben has to be in his best physical condition, in addition to his knowledge of engineering and physics.

The keen diver has added variety to his training routine by signing up for the Simplyhealth Great Birmingham 10K and will be among thousands of inspirational runners and walkers taking part in the May event, which this year features a new and improved route.

Starting on historic Colmore Row in Birmingham city centre, the 10K takes in the city’s world-famous Jewellery Quarter. The finish line is next to the Aston University campus, which certainly will be a blast from the past for Ben.

“I started getting really interested in the space industry and potentially working in space early in my degree at Aston, so I did a placement year at the Harwell Innovation Campus near Oxford, one of the central industry hubs for space in the UK,” he explains.

 “At the moment I’m training three times a week and I’m up to 5K. The Great Birmingham 10K will be my first organised event and the longest distance I’ve run.

 “I need to make sure I’m physically fit for this so at some point I’ll mix up the routine with bodyweight training. The rest of it is demonstrating engineering and personality skills.”