A 72-YEAR-OLD grandmother who took up jogging after the death of her husband has now run 13 marathons in nine years - and plans to take on the Great Wall of China.

Super-fit Sue Nicholls ran her first marathon in Melbourne, Australia, and has since competed in London, Tokyo, Boston, Chicago, New York and Berlin.

Her dedication has won her the 'Six Star Finishers' medal, which is reserved for the world's top amateur athletes who complete all six major city runs.

It was presented to Sue after she finished the Berlin marathon in four hours and 21 minutes.

And if that was not enough, this year she also completed the three peaks challenge climbing Britain's three highest peaks of Ben Nevis, Scafell Pike and Snowdon.

And for good measure Sue, who has three sons and seven grandchildren, wing-walked on a bi-plane earlier this year.

She is now training for her toughest marathon yet along the Great Wall of China.

Considered one of the hardest runs in the world, Sue will tackle 5,000 steps as she runs along one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World.

Sue, from Burnham-on-Sea, Somerset, only took up running nine years ago at the age of 63 after her husband Cliff died of cancer.

She was overcome with grief and fell into a bout of depression but found an escape in long-distance running.

Sue runs five times a week, covering 75 miles, and swims 40 lengths three times each week at her local pool.

She said: “I started running after my husband, Cliff, died of cancer, so I wanted to raise money for Cancer Research UK.

“Running helped me in a sad period of my life, and I loved it so much that I continued to train for and compete in marathons.

“I enjoy running, it keeps you fit and active, which is so important to living a healthy life.

“I decided I would take it up before I got too old and lost the opportunity entirely. I started with shorter distances and built up towards longer ones until I was able to take on my first marathon.

“I enjoy my food. I don’t have a massive sweet tooth and I mainly stick to a good amount of protein and carbohydrates.

“I think my sons know I’m determined. When I say I’m going to something I do it. One or two of them always comes with me when I travel abroad for a race, for a bit of support, you know. We make a holiday of it.

“I’d never done any running before I took it up but I had swam all my life and played football with my boys. I’ve always been an ambitious person.”
She took on her first marathon in Melbourne, Australia, during a trip to visit her sister-in-law.

She was named the UK's top 65+ female half-marathon athlete in 2013 by the world’s only weekly athletics magazine, Athletics Weekly.

She is also the captain of the Burnham Harriers running team, which organises running nights once a week near her home.

Tracey Benton, vice-captain of the Harriers, said: “I met Sue through the running club seven years ago – she continues to amaze me with all she achieves.

“She is a remarkable lady and one of the fastest runners in this country in the female age category.

“I’m proud to not only know her, but also to be able to run with her.”
In spite of her age Sue has no plans to hang up her trainers any time soon.

She said: “Running 5,000 steps of the Great Wall of China in May will be an amazing experience.

“My two sons are also runners, and they will be coming to China with me to provide moral support, and enjoy a holiday too.

“I will also be running the London Marathon again next year, which I’m very much looking forward to.”