Sisters Sarah and Kat Fardell are in the final stage of training for a challenge they know will test all their powers of stamina and endurance.
They are taking part in a 64- mile run next weekend in honour of their late aunt and “best friend” – whose memory they say will keep them motivated to the very end.
Sarah, 25, and Kat, 22, will combine running and walking as they cover the long journey by foot from Richmond Park in London all the way to the south coast at Brighton – including running through the night.
They are doing the London to Brighton 100K in aid of Macmillan Cancer Care as a promise to their aunt, Jan Waits, who died exactly a year ago today on May 16 of breast cancer at the age of 53.
She was a learning mentor at what is now Thomas Gainsborough School, but was then Great Cornard Upper School, and she lived near the school in Davidson Close.
Her nieces said they would raise money in her honour for cancer care as she received support from Macmillan during her final months.
Sarah, of Wreford Court in Long Melford, said the women have received more than £2,200 in donations and sponsorship pledges.
On the sisters’ donations website – www.justgiving.com/sarah-fardell – Sarah says: “Last year, we made a very important promise to the most incredible lady that we were very lucky enough to call our auntie.
“We have been given the opportunity to carry out her wish and raise some money in her honour by completing the challenge of the London to Brighton 100k.
“We would love to raise as much as we can in her honour as she was undoubtedly the most amazing, beautiful and special woman that we have ever had the pleasure to know.”
The girls called their aunt their best friend because they would often go out on “girlie” trips with her and their mum Judith Fardell, headteacher at Wells Hall Primary School.
“Mum was very close to her sister and we all were close together as a family. We felt like she was our best friend,” added Sarah.
Jan was diagnosed with breast cancer four years ago but, after treatment it re-occured. She had moved to Great Cornard 10 years ago. Sarah said money has come in from scores of people.
“The donations have far outweighed our expectations,” she said. “I think one reason is because a lot is from people who knew her, people we don’t know ourselve.
“I think she touched a lot of people in her life; she was very well known and loved.”
Sarah, who is a manager of the Peake Fitness gym and spa at Stoke-by-Nayland Hotel, said she and her sister Kat, a graphic designer from Great Cornard who works in Acton, hope to finish the run by Sunday lunchtime.