A MUM of three is running her first marathon later this month to raise awareness of motor neurone disease (MND).

Emma Watson, 42, who lives in Malton, decided to take on the challenge of running the Yorkshire Marathon after her mother-in-law, who had the condition, died in March.

Susan Sleightholme, who also lived in Malton, died just seven weeks after being diagnosed, aged 70.

Emma said: “She had suffered a series of falls the Christmas before and was having tests when she was diagnosed with motor neurone.

“I am a social worker so fortunately we were able to care for her at home.

“It was a great shock when she died as we are a very close family.”

Emma said she had taken up running a few years ago and following Sue’s death, she and her husband, Mark, found it helped with their grief.

“I have done a few half-marathons, but always said I would never do a full marathon as I know how much training you needed to do,” she said.

“After Sue died, though, I decided I needed a new challenge and thought that if I was going to do a marathon I needed something to focus on to get me through the 26 miles, so I decided to raise funds for MND and also awareness.”

Emma, who has three sons aged between 17 and 23, said her family had been very supportive. “They are really proud of what I am doing, especially as they know I am doing in for granny Sue, as they used to call her,” she said.

Emma has been trail and hill running to build up her fitness for the Yorkshire Marathon, which takes place in York on Sunday, October 20.

“The furthest I’ve done is 22 miles and that was in the heatwave we had recently, so I was really pleased with that,” she said.

“I did a 20-mile run on Sunday and still felt I had something to give so hopefully I will be okay on the day.

“I am a bit nervous but it will be quite an achievement and I am sure the crowd will keep me going and thinking of the reason why I am doing it.”

To sponsor Emma, go to justgiving.com/fundraising/em-watson1