WHEELCHAIR curler Aileen Neilson opted for a novel approach to her 40th birthday celebrations last week – by raising almost £3000 in a charity marathon.
The Strathaven woman completed the 26.2 mile distance with her partner and fellow Paralympian Michael McCreadie last Sunday as the duo successfully completed their gruelling challenge in six hours and 44 minutes.
Aileen – who represented Great Britain in curling at the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver – mapped out a circuit around the area where she lives, 12 laps of which matched the required distance.
She admitted it was worth all the aches and pains to raise cash for the chosen charities, the Beatson Cancer Centre and Leukaemia and Lymphoma Research.
She told the News: “I’m delighted that we both managed to complete the course and it was fantastic to see about 100 of our family and friends come out to support us and join in with the challenge.
“Some of our friends did parts of the race with us and kept us going and I don’t think we could have made it without their support.
“Often in marathons, runners talk about hitting the wall and there was a couple of moments in the final few circuits that my arms started to get sore and I realised it was getting really tough to get round, but we made it in the end and raised a great figure for our charities.”
The duo have raised £2700 and counting, with donations still being taken for another three weeks.
Aileen admitted that the training she and Michael did before the big event was crucial in seeing them go the distance.
“We did 130 miles in practice runs before the event on Sunday and that was so important,” said Aileen.
“For eight weeks we kept building up our distances and to know we completed it is a great feeling.
“We weren’t too sore afterwards, but it took us a couple of days to fully recover from the exertions.
“But I’d like to take this opportunity to thank the companies who supported us, including Tunnocks and Barrs soft drinks.
“And a special mention goes to Sainsburys for their kind and generous donations as well as our family, friends and neighbours who made such an event possible and whose generous contributions will make a difference to our most worthy causes.”
You can still contribute to Aileen and Michael’s chosen charities.
To donate to Leukaemia research visit www.justgiving.com/aileenstill39 and to donate to the Beatson Cancer Centre go to www.justgiving.com/aileennearly40