Cookstown woman dedicates her last three marathons to sister who died from Cystic Fibrosis

Sandra Mayne is running three marathons in Belfast, London and Derry to raise money for Cystic Fibrosis Trust
Sandra Mayne is running three marathons in Belfast, London and Derry to raise money for Cystic Fibrosis Trust

A Cookstown woman who lost her sister to Cystic Fibrosis 28 years ago has vowed to run three marathons in one month to raise money for the cause.

And not only that, avid runner Sandra Mayne, said they will be the last marathons she ever runs so that her husband agrees to having the dog she so badly wants.

For me to run for something that you need so much lung energy for, is something that I am lucky to be able to do - Sandra Mayne

“He told me that we couldn’t get a dog because I run too much,” the 31-year-old explained. “So I said ‘right, I’ll do five more marathons, that will mean I’ve done 10 marathons, and I’ll stop running.”

But instead of doing the runs for her own gratification, she said: “I thought I’ll make these last five count.

“To get into London [marathon] with a charity you have to have so much money raised, so I’ve put together quiz nights and the Holestone Blood Hounds donated their last hunt of the season as well.

“At the moment I’m sitting at £3,111 - which is excellent,” she added. “That will all go to Cystic Fibrosis and my Just Giving page is open right up until the 31st of May, when I do the final one - hopefully injury free.”

And the inspiration for all of this was Sandra’s younger sister, who died at just six-months-old from Cystic Fibrosis.

“She would have been 28 this year,” the coffee shop manager said, “Obviously at that stage there was very little research into what CF was.

“People who have CF now have a life-expectancy of about 40 years.

“It affects your lungs and it affects your breathing and you are continually needing physiotherapy,” - another reason Sandra said she was so keen to run in her sister’s memory.

“For me to run for something that you need so much lung energy for, is something that I am lucky to be able to do.

“When I’m out running and I’m thinking ‘I can hardly breath’, realistically my pain will only last a few days, whereas people who suffer any illness or disease, it’s lifelong for them,” she added.

“I run and I’m lucky that I am able to run... I want to make people aware of CF and to encourage people who thought running wasn’t for them, to get out there and give it a go.”

As for the training time she is putting in for the three races she is now facing, Sandra said: “I’m following a 16-week programme which involves three runs a week - a long run, a speed training session with Acorn Athletics Club and just a general 8-miles run any other day of the week.”

Sandra will take on the London marathon on April 26, Belfast on May 2 and Derry on May 31.

“They’ve all kind of come into one month of craziness,” she added.