A WOMAN from Pontypool is set to take on one of running's toughest challenges in memory of her father - just five years after taking up the sport.

Sue Jeffs, 54, is running the London Marathon for St David's Hospice Care at the end of April.

Mrs Jeffs is running for St David's following the care that they provided for her father, Brian Hales, who passed away last year.

"I started running just after my 49th birthday," she said. "I set myself the goal of running a parkrun, and from then I just got the bug.

"My friend told me to try the Pontypool First Steps group.

"I never really thought I could do anything like this."

After catching the running bug, Mrs Jeffs joined the Pont-y-pwl and District runners.

With the support of the club, she has now set her sights on the London Marathon

"Quite a few of my clubmates have done marathons before," she said.

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Sue Jeffs (left) with her Pont-y-pwl and District runners clubmates. Picture: Sue Jeffs.

"I've had advice from them and from our coach Ray Morgan.

"They've all been great.

"St David's have also been sending me through pieces of information and advice."

She is running the marathon to raise money for St David's because of the care that they provided for her father.

"I was really close with my dad," she said. "St David's were fabulous with him.

"He had lung disease. He was on oxygen and they would come round to care for him.

"They were really supportive for me and my mum as well.

"Running enabled me to come to terms with my thoughts after my dad passed away.

"At my dad's funeral, we all wore something orange for him.

"On my vest, I have an orange heart on the back, so I will be running for him."

With the marathon now just over three weeks away, Mrs Jeffs is coming to the business end of her training.

"I've got one long run left to do. It's a 20 mile run this weekend, and then I'll be winding down before the marathon.

"It's hard. Because the runs have to be so long they take over your life.

"Sometimes I look outside and think I really need to do some gardening, but I can't as I have to go for a run.

"There is also the psychological part of it - believing that you can finish it.

"I'm a bit scared in some ways, but I'm also really looking forward to it."

So far, Mrs Jeffs has raised more than £1,300 for St David's.

To find out more, or to donate, visit justgiving.com/fundraising/Susan-Jeffs2.