24th Nov, 2020

Mile eating Margaret steps out on 'LEJOG' for caring cancer charity

Ross Crawford 19th Nov, 2020

A SUPER-FIT granny has completed an epic 874-mile walking challenge with her faithful dog Luna to raise money to help find a cure for the disease affecting her son.

Margaret Smith, aged 86, of Knowle, set herself the challenge of covering the distance – the equivalent of Land’s End of John O’Groats (LEJOG) – over the period of a year but surpassed her own expectations by clocking up the miles in just four months.

Her efforts have raised almost £3,000 for Brain Tumour Research, inspired by her 62-year-old son Peter who is having chemotherapy after a scan revealed a previously-diagnosed brain tumour had grown back.

Margaret took up running following the death of her husband and last year did her first parachute jump.

She said: “Peter and his sons 24-year-old Sam and Oliver, 19, are all the family I have left.

“My husband died in 1997 which was when I took up running. Since then I have completed 351 park runs.

“Walking the equivalent of Land’s End to John O’Groats with Luna seemed just the right thing to focus on when I heard Peter’s brain tumour had come back.

“It was especially fitting because after my husband and I retired, we had always intended to cycle LEJOG but sadly Gordon passed away.

“Luna and I averaged seven or eight miles a day walking around the neighbourhood – a particular favourite route took us around Copt Heath Golf Club, down to Brueton Park and into Solihull.”

Margaret’s fitness stems from an early age. A former member of Solihull Cycling Club, she met her husband through the sport and used to race with the legendary Beryl Burton who dominated women’s cycle racing in the 60s and early 70s.

She and Gordon had two sons, Peter, a former soldier, and Paul, who was killed in a car crash two days before his 22nd birthday.

Margaret said: “Lockdown has meant I have been unable to visit Peter. It is really hard not being able to see him or even hold his hand.”

More children and adults under the age of 40 die of a brain tumour than any other cancer.

Melanie Tiley of Brain Tumour Research, said: “We are so grateful to Margaret and Luna for taking on LEJOG and completing it so quickly!I am sure she will inspire lots of people.”

To donate to Margaret’s fund, visit www.justgiving.com/fundraising/MargaretAnnSmith

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