A SUNDERLAND aunt is gearing up to tackle the London Marathon as a salute to her soldier niece.
Claire Douglas has never taken on a 26-mile challenge before but decided to enter the event after being inspired by her young relative.
The 41-year-old will pound the streets of the capital on Sunday, April 26, aiming to raise cash for the Royal British Legion.
Claire’s niece, Corporal Jade Outhwaite, is currently based in Northern Ireland. The 26-year-old has served in the forces for five-and-a-half years and has previously undertaken a six-month tour of duty in Afghanistan.
Claire, of Vicarage Road, Silksworth, started running three years ago. She started her own ladies-only club, the Silky Sole Sisters, and set up the 5k Sunderland Poppy Run last November in aid of the Royal British Legion.
She said: “Jade is my niece but we’re very close. The whole family is really proud of her.”
Claire said: “I run twice a week with the Silky Sole Sisters but I also run twice a week on my own. I’ve had an injury so I haven’t done as many miles as I’d like but I’ve gotten up to 16 miles.”
Claire has no time goal for the 26.2 mile course but will be boosted by knowing Jade is flying in to cheer her on from the sidelines.
She added: “When she’s there, I know’ll I’ll get past that finish line. I always hear her voice in my head when I’m struggling telling me to do it.”
Claire’s goal is to raise £1,800 for the Royal British Legion to help provide help and support to serving personnel, veterans and their families.
To donate visit http://uk.virginmoneygiving.com/ClaireDouglas74