Great-gran wants to run 65 races before turning 66

PHOTO. KEVIN McGUINNESS'Leyland runner Jan Atkins

PHOTO. KEVIN McGUINNESS'Leyland runner Jan Atkins

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This 65-year-old great grandmother from Leyland has no desire to take a slower pace in life.

Janet Atkins, of Balcarres Road, has set herself a challenge to run 65 races before she reaches the age of 66.

The effort is in aid of the Smile for Emily fund, dedicated to her niece Emily Dibben, from Clayton Brook, who sadly died of cancer in 2003 at the age of 25.

Janet said: “I decided that I needed to set myself a challenge and I was talking to a friend about what I could do.

“I came up with this idea and he offered me a large chunk of cash for the charity, and asked me if it was enough to get me started.

“We high-fived and that was that.”

Janet, who has four children, four grandchildren and a great-grand daughter, is now up to her 50th race and still finds time to work three days a week at Preston Crown Court.

She said: “It was a bit of a off-the-wall idea and it can be tough because sometimes I am doing the races two days in a row, but everything has been going well so far.

“I am a runner and I ran for Lancashire many moons ago. I started running again when I was 35 so I suppose I have been doing it for a while now.

“I did a six-mile run in Cuerden and I did a run around Astley Park last week so I am getting around a bit more than usual.”

Janet’s aim is to raise £2,000 for the Smile for Emily fund, which helps provide specialist hair and beauty treatments for men and women patients at the Rosemere Cancer Centre at Royal Preston Hospital.

Janet said: “Emily was such a lovely girl and her death affected the family a lot so I wanted to do something to raise money.

“I am up to my 50th race, but I won’t actually finish until my birthday on August 15.

“I’m part of the Chorley Harriers and Triathlon Club and you don’t do much running in the winter so I’m catching up a bit at the moment.

“They are all organised races, some are on the road and some are trail races.

“I’m just keeping my fingers crossed that I don’t get injured.

“I did fall off a stile at one point, but up until now I’ve not been doing so bad – although it is wearing me out a little!”