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Marathon a capital idea for Daphne, 72

PUBLISHED: 09:45 24 January 2008 | UPDATED: 08:49 13 July 2010

Daphne Hathaway is taking steps to make her golden wedding celebration one to really remember - by joining fellow runners in the London Marathon.

The 72-year-old will be the oldest woman from Norfolk in the race on April 13, which comes only days after she and her husband Andy pass their 50-year landmark.

Daphne Hathaway is taking steps to make her golden wedding celebration one to really remember - by joining fellow runners in the London Marathon.

The 72-year-old will be the oldest woman from Norfolk in the race on April 13, which comes only days after she and her husband Andy pass their 50-year landmark.

Mrs Hathaway had not run a step until her 59th birthday, but now finds running through the picturesque countryside around her home in Threehammer Common, near Wroxham, a vital release from the stress of caring for her husband, an Alzheimer's sufferer, and 97-year-old disabled father Bill.

She said: “This will be my 12th marathon and ninth in London. It might also have to be my last because my husband, who also has Crohn's Disease, will need more care in the future. However, the race is the perfect way to celebrate our golden wedding on March 29.”

Mrs Hathaway, a member of Coltishall Jaguars running club, juggles her training around her commitments as a carer, often stepping out on her daily training run at 6am when she can have confidence her husband is still asleep.

She said: “On Sundays, I see off my husband to my father's house a mile away before I cycle the six miles to Coltishall to join club members on their run, and then cycle home again.”

The mother-of-two was inspired to run after watching the 1994 London Marathon. She ran her first 26-mile race in the capital

the following year and has since completed marathons in Paris and Dublin.

Mrs Hathaway, a retired sub-editor on the Peterborough Standard, said: “I have lived the last 20 years with the demands of Alzheimer's because both my mother-in-law and mother also had it. Usually I run for the Alzheimer's Society, but thought this time I would focus on children and raise money for TreeHouse, a charity which supports autistic youngsters.

“Most people who develop Alzheimer's usually enjoy at least 65 years before the disease strikes, but autistic children are handicapped all their lives.”

Another reason for the choice of the lifelong Arsenal FC fan is that TreeHouse is the Gunners' charity of the season.

Mrs Hathaway, whose best time remains the 4hr 22min she ran in 1997, hopes to get under the 5hr-mark despite a chronic heel injury.

To sponsor her, send a cheque, payable to TreeHouse, to Wildhaven, Threehammer Common, Neatishead, Norfolk. NR12 8BP.

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