ZARA Greenhalgh is on course to complete her first ever marathon and she is only seven years old.
Already the St Chad’s School pupil has smashed her charity fundraising target ahead of completing the 26.2 miles distance.
She plans to take the final steps of her long-distance challenge on what would have been granddad Stephen’s 70th birthday.
So far, Zara has raised more than £1,000 for Dr Kershaw’s Hospice in Royton after setting her goal at £150.
She was motivated to cover a marathon distance after a family run on April 26-the original date for the 2020 London race.
Mum Ruth had secured a first-time entry, pledging to raise funds for Dr Kershaw’s after her father, Stephen Shaw’s passing.
She explained: “I was sent an email about doing the 2.6 miles challenge on April 26 and we did the run as a family.
“Zara asked if she could do a bit more running. So, I suggested she try and run the distance of a marathon.
“I am raising money for Kershaw’s as well. But they won’t receive anything until at least October when London is due to take place.
“So, Zara running a marathon is a good way of raising money sooner.”
Together with dad Peter and five-year-old brother George, Zara chalked up her first miles.
She continues to clock up the mileage with manageable distances on a regular basis.
“My dad’s birthday would have been on the 23rd so that is when Zara will hopefully finish,” added Ruth.
“She really enjoys it especially with lockdown because it means she can go out for 40 mins or so.
“She can also talk all the way round and I am usually out of breath.
“Zara doesn’t fully understand how amazing it is what she is doing. But she is enjoying it and wanting to do more.”
Ruth, who runs BOX hair salon in Denshaw, admits: “I am not a runner either so I am challenging myself to do the marathon.
“Everyone told me I would not get a place but I managed it.
“I didn’t’ tell anyone I was doing it. But after dad died, I did the Couch to 5k.
“I then set myself a challenge to give me a focus. This is my first marathon and almost certainly my last.”
• If you can help Zara raise money for Dr Kershaw’s Hospice, visit: https://tinyurl.com/yb92mepd