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Gemma spurred on by father's memory
AN accountant will complete her fourth and final challenge in memory of her father this weekend when she takes part in the Great North Run.
Gemma Smith will run the 13.1-mile course dressed in Army garb and sporting the regimental colours of her late father, Staff Sergeant Roland Marshall.
He served with the 1st Royal Tank Regiment and Mrs Smith will be wearing a beret with the regiment’s badge and carrying a flag with their colours.
Mrs Smith’s father died last year after battling bowel cancer. He was 63.
Now the 29-year-old from Staindrop, County Durham, is raising money for Bowel Cancer UK and has already completed three tough challenges.
In May she completed a 140-mile coast-to-coast bike ride, cycling from Whitehaven, in Cumbria, to North Tyneside , and ran the Marathon of the North, in Sunderland, in under five hours.
In June, she completed the Three Peaks Challenge with Maximum Adventure, starting with a climb of Ben Nevis, in Scotland, followed by Hellvelyn, in the Lake District, and Snowdon, in Wales – all within 24 hours.
She described the three peaks challenge as “terrifying” and said her father’s memory had spurred her on.
Ms Smith said: “When we were climbing Ben Nevis, I learnt how scared of heights I really was. We climbed Hellvelyn in the darkness, rain and wind, which was definitely an experience.
“By the time we arrived at Snowdon, fear had taken its toll on me. But I remembered why I was doing it – for my dad. He didn’t raise me to give up when the going got tough.”
That same determination will see her take part in the Great North Run and she aims to do it within two hours. To donate, visit justgiving.com/Gemma- Marshall0