A FAMILY devastated by the death of a beloved mum and wife last year are uniting to take on a gruelling challenge.

Elaine Simants, 53, of Dunbar, passed away last September just five months after being diagnosed with a brain tumour.

Now a team of 12 are getting ready to conquer the John Muir Way and clock up more than 1,500 miles along the way.

Elaine’s husband Marc and their son Kieran and son-in-law Kris Balmforth are getting ready to run a marathon (26.3 miles) along the route each day over five days.

Joining them will be daughter Yvette, who will run a half marathon each day, before daughter Yvonne takes on the final 26.3 miles.

Seven local people will also cycle the full route in just two days.

Yvette, 38, told the Courier that preparing for the challenge, which gets under way on August 20, had been therapeutic.

She said: “It has been a good therapy for us. We have all enjoyed our training – barring any injuries. Running gives you time to think, time to breathe and time to yourself. It is not easy fitting it in round work and life and my children but it has definitely been worthwhile.”

Yvette described her mum as “a very proud granny” to 13 grandchildren and someone who had always kept busy. The family are extremely close and the idea of the fundraiser came about shortly after her death.

Yvette added: “We were an athletic family because my dad helped found Dunbar Running Club. Myself and my sister used to be in the club but both of us have had children and years have gone by and it is now something we’ve gone back to. It has been hard – a lot harder than I thought; I have had a few injuries and my body’s maybe not built for running!”

Money raised will be split between Maggie’s Centre in Edinburgh and Ward 2 at Belhaven Hospital, with more than £2,000 raised.

Yvette, who works as an administration assistant at Torness Power Station, said Maggie’s had helped greatly by giving support while staff at Belhaven Hospital were flexible in allowing friends and family to visit Elaine in hospital.

Yvette, of Ashfield, added: “She was only in Belhaven for the last few weeks but it made all the difference.

“Staff at Belhaven were amazing. It was open visiting, you could go in with the kids at 12 at night or eight in morning. You could have a cuppa and the kids were going in during their lunch break as well. That made a big difference.”

The John Muir Way challenge, named ‘5 in 5 – Marathons for Mum’, is the middle of a trio of fundraisers which are also being supported by Yvette’s brothers Marc and Stephen.

On Sunday, Hallhill Sports Centre is hosting its annual charity fun day, 1-4pm, which will support the cause. Various inflatables will be at the sports centre, as well as live music and a variety of food stalls.

Wrist bands are £7 for unlimited rides, with money raised on the day going towards the two charities.

Then, later this month, Hallhill will again be the venue with a race night pencilled in for August 25.

Already, the fundraising efforts have been boosted by housebuilder Taylor Wimpey. To make a donation, go to justgiving.com/crowdfunding/5in5mara thons