She could have chosen a more relaxing way to celebrate her 50th birthday but Long Clawson mum-of-four Susanne Birley wanted to do something memorable and for charity.
So she decided to take on the gruelling challenge of running 12 half marathon in 12 months in aid of two causes close to her families’ hearts - Cancer Research UK and the Mount Group Riding for the Disabled (RDA).
After what’s been a hugely challenging year - one Susanne thought would never end - she finally completed the last of her runs - The Bath Half Marathon - earlier this month.
To complete her challenge Susanne ran nine half marathon road races, two 16-mile cross country runs and a half marathon trail run.
So far she has raised more than £2,300, with money still being pledged and more donations hopefully to come.
Susanne, who had to run her last two events with an injury, said: “I have to admit I definitely underestimated the difficulty of this challenge. Not only was it a challenge physically but also logistically. Besides struggling to find 12 official runs I then had to fit them around work, holidays and my ever hectic family life.
“But it was definitely worth all the struggle and I was raising money for two very worthy causes.”
She added: “I decided to raise money for Cancer Research UK as at the time I had a relative going through cancer treatment. I’ve also lost two friends to cancer.
“The Mount Group Riding for the Disabled (RDA) is very close to us as a family as my eldest son, Tim, has Down’s Syndrome and rides with them. He really looks forward to his riding and has gained confidence and a real sense of achievement. Tim has been able to take part in several competitions and is extremely proud of the rosettes he has won. This has only been possible through the hard work of the RDA volunteers.”
Susanne said she was ‘very relieved and completely amazed’ after finishing her last run - The Bath Marathon on March 1 - which she ran with daughter, Bethany.
She said: “I also felt very proud of myself and of my family for all their support and encouragement throughout the year. The only time my family were unable to support me was on the three Saturday cross country runs because of work commitments. They were very supportive on all the other runs in all weathers.
“I’d like to thank my family, friends and customers that have supported, encouraged and donated money to me.”
You can still make a donation by visiting susanne’s fundraising pages at https://mydonate.bt.com/fundraisers/susannebirley2 and https://mydonate.bt.com/fundraisers/susannebirley3.