Two sisters will be hoping to smash a £20,000 fundraising target when they take on their third marathon in 365 days in memory of their dad.
Sallyanne Ellington, 33, and Stacey Rudd, 30, will complete their year-long charity challenge in aid of Cancer Research UK when they run the Paris Marathon on Sunday.
The determined pair have already raised £19,000 for the cause, ever since they decided to run their first marathon in London on April 13, 2014.
The day marked the seventh anniversary of their dad Michael Jeffrey losing his brave battle against cancer, at the age of just 51, and it was also Sallyanne’s eldest daughter Sophie’s eighth birthday.
It was only due to the various trials and treatments Michael had been receiving that he was able to celebrate her first birthday in 2007, but he died later the same day.
Stacey was also five-months pregnant at the time, so Michael never got to meet his first grandson James.
“We wanted to run the London Marathon to try to make a positive out of what was a very sad day and raise as much money as possible in dad’s memory,” said Sallyanne, of Emneth.
“It was a very emotional and poignant day but we both thoroughly enjoyed the experience.”
After completing the 26.2 mile event in London, the sisters entered the ballot for the Paris Marathon, which was 365 days later, and were successful.
But, feeling the French experience was a long way off, they looked into other marathons – and decided to run the New York event on November 2, 2014, to make it three in a year.
Sallyanne said the New York marathon – the largest marathon in the world – was a very different experience to London.
Conditions were freezing cold and very windy, and they had to wait around four hours before they could even start the race. She said: “Despite that, we both managed to knock 20 minutes off our PBs and were just happy to run knowing we were doing it for such an important cause.
“Now we’re looking forward to our last marathon in Paris.
“We’ve raised more than £19,000 so far but would love to see this reach the £20,000 mark.”
Sallyanne and Stacey, from Wisbech St Mary, have an older sister Shelley, 35, from Emneth, who has done her bit for Cancer Research UK, too.
Although unable to run a marathon due to disability, Shelley raised more than £2,000 when she jumped out of a plane for the cause – an experience she said she wouldn’t repeat quickly!
Both Sallyanne and Stacey have trained hard throughout the year with King’s Lynn and Wisbech-based Motiv8 Exercise and Fitness and March Athletic Club.
“The support and encouragement from both has been amazing and invaluable,” said Sallyanne.
Anyone wanting to sponsor the pair can visit their fundraising page at: www.justgiving.co.uk/sallandstac