THREE intrepid women are gearing up for a marathon challenge on Sunday.
Stephanie Mahon, aged 34, Claire Hebblethwaite, 29, and Methodist minister the Rev Paula Bee will be putting their best feet forward for charity in the London Marathon.
Stephanie, from Holmfirth, says she has exceeded her sponsorship cash target of £1,500, and has so far been promised almost £1,600 for The Stroke Association.
It will be her first London Marathon - but having done the Great North Run and the Leeds Half Marathon, she is well prepared.
Stephanie, a marketing director for ITE Moda in Huddersfield, said: "I decided to raise money for the Stoke Association when I found out how much the disease affects the lives of so many people.
"I didn't realise strokes could affect young people, and some of my work colleagues have directly experienced the results.
"I thought it would be fitting therefore for me to run for and do my bit for that charity."
Every year, an estimated 150,000 people in the UK suffer a stroke.
Of these a third are likely to die within the first 10 days, a third are likely to make a recovery and a third may be left disabled and needing rehabilitation.
Claire, a former Huddersfield woman, who grew up in Salendine Nook, aims to raise £1,000 for Guide Dogs for the Blind.
She is a sales and membership co-ordinator for a company managing eight council leisure centres in Herefordshire.
She attended Greenhead High School, Huddersfield, before gaining a degree in sports studies at Staffordshire University in Stoke.
Claire, who now lives in Hereford, said: "I have done one or two half-marathons for different charities.
"I decided to help Guide Dogs for the Blind after visiting the guide dog centre in Leamington Spa a few weeks ago and seeing how they are trained and what a difference they make to their owners' lives."
She added: "Training is going really well. I have done a half-marathon and a 20-mile run.
"This will be my first London Marathon and it would be great if my friends in Huddersfield want to support me."
The Rev Paula Bee, minister of Almondbury Methodist Church, ran the marathon last year in five hours and 15 minutes and raised a total of £6,000 for the Shelter charity and Almondbury Community Centre.
"Both charitable causes are close to my heart," she said.
"Shelter is working hard to eradicate poor housing for young people across the country and the new Almondbury Community Centre will provide a focus for community development."
The centre has been the subject of a four-year campaign to raise more than £380,000.
The fundraising team managed to raise £80,000 and received cash from The Big Lottery, Biffa Landfill Trust, Kirklees Council and The Methodist Church.
Building will start in summer.
To sponsor Stephanie, visit www.justgiving.com/stephmahon.
Contact Claire on her website at www.justgiv ing.com/claireheb or ring 07977 489251.
To sponsor Paula ring 01484 423574 or email: paulabee firstname.lastname@example.org