When Natalie Clayton runs the London Marathon on April 22, she’ll be taking part in memory of her teenage sister who died in 1995.
The mum-of-three wants to raise money for and awareness of The Child Bereavement Charity, which supports families and children who have lost loved ones.
She experienced the tragedy of losing her sister when she suffered a heart attack at the age of 14 caused by drug abuse.
When the opportunity arose to run on behalf of the charity, she jumped at the chance.
Miss Clayton, 33, of Raunds, said: “My sister died nine days before her 15th birthday. It was a complete shock and not at all expected.
“She had a heart attack which was caused by drug use.
“I had just turned 17 at the time, and we were really close. It was terrible and it’s why I wanted to support this charity, because it helps families who have lost children and children who have been bereaved themselves.”
Miss Clayton, who moved to Raunds from her home town of Croydon a few years ago, experienced another tragic blow recently when the 15-year-old daughter of one of her friends from Croydon died.
She added: “My friend’s daughter died at the end of last August. She was just 15 and it brought back a lot of memories. It was a big shock.
“When I found out that I had got in to the London Marathon I thought ‘this is who I want to run for; my sister and my friend’s daughter’.
“The Child Bereavement Charity contacted me to ask if I would consider running for them. I already wanted to run for them, so it was like it was meant to be.
“This will be the first time that I have ever run a marathon. I have been in training since October and it has been going quite well.
“I have been training six days a week, and even getting up at 4am to do some running before the children wake up.”
The busy mum is combining her training with her studies, as she’s currently working towards becoming a midwife, and looking after her children, who are aged five, four and two.
She is appealing for people to help her raise as much money as possible for the charity by sponsoring her participation in the marathon.
She is registered to take part under her previous married name.