A great grandmother from Bexhill is all set to join her family and take part in a major running festival in the Scottish Highlands later this month.
June Cooper, 83, will be one of four generations of her family taking part in Baxters Loch Ness Marathon and Festival of Running which takes place in Inverness on September 24. She will be oldest participant in the River Ness 5K race.
It will be the first time that June has ever taken part in a sporting event, but she is determined that her daughter, grand daughters and great grandchildren will not be the only members of the family to take home a medal.
June will be joined by daughter Gillian Dawes (52) and her great-grandchildren Jakob (10), Francesca, nine, and five year old Beatrice Finkler, while granddaughters Jennifer Dawes (32) and Rebecca Dawes (30) will take on the River Ness 10K and Loch Ness Marathon respectively.
June says her motto is if you can’t beat them, join them. “Jennifer now lives near Inverness and we visit her regularly throughout the year,” she said. “Rebecca wanted to go up to run the marathon, and it all just started from there.
“I thought that rather than watch them all run, I might as well do it too.
“Initially I thought that they would tell me there was no way they would let me take part, but after they got over the initial surprise, they said they could not be happier that I’m doing it.”
June says she’s no couch potato and keeping active is a major part of her life. “I go out for a walk every day for about two-and-a-half miles as part of my training. I may be slower than everyone else – I might even be the last one to finish – but I will get there!
“It is important that we keep our minds and bodies active as we get older. It is so easy to sit in an armchair and say you can’t be bothered, but once you get out and do it, you feel so pleased with yourself. I feel so much better for it.”
“Inverness is such a beautiful part of the world and I am really looking forward to it.”
Daughter Gillian who also lives in Bexhill says the family are very proud of June for having the courage to take part in the event. “Although it might take her longer than the other entrants she will be absolutely determined to cross the finishing line!”, she said.
The Festival is renowned for its scenic beauty and friendly atmosphere. Many runners will be raising funds for good causes, including main charity partner, Macmillan Cancer Support.
To support the work of charities, organisers offer a discounted entry fee to school and youth clubs that enter groups into the River Ness 5K. For further information visit: www.lochnessmarathon.com