AN animal lover is getting ready to lace-up her running shoes for charity.
Emma Stewart signed up to run the Venice marathon because she wanted to do something special this year.
The 32-year-old, who lives in Westoe Crown Village, South Shields, is set to head to Italy to join about 8,000 other runners for the marathon.
The race takes in views of the Italian countryside, before passing through St Mark’s Square, to finish in the centre of Venice.
Emma, who will head to Italy in October for the event, said she is looking forward to the challenge.
She said: “The training is going really well. I’m really looking forward to going.
“I picked Venice because I thought if I’m running that far, I want it to be somewhere good.
“I’ve always wanted to go to Venice, it looks like a stunning city, so I took the opportunity to combine visiting and running the marathon.”
Emma, a dog lover, is also hoping to help stray animals from her running challenge.
She is raising money for Bryson’s Animal Shelter, based in Gateshead.
She added: “I got my dog, Megan, from an animal centre and I love her to bits.
“I wanted to help a local charity, so I researched animal shelters and this one looked really good.”
The charity runs purely from donations and never puts an animal down.
If an animal doesn’t get rehomed, they will live at the shelter.
Emma said: “The charity has all kinds of animals, big and small, from horses to guinea pigs.
“I’ve raised £40 for them so far, and I haven’t got a fundraising target, but I’m going to push it more as it gets closer to the actual run.”
Emma, with support from her family, is sticking to a strict training regime, pounding the pavements five days a week, and so far has hit 14 miles.
She is now aims to for 15 miles.
She added: “I haven’t had any injuries, or struggled at all so far.
“My parents have been brilliant support – I wouldn’t have been in this position without their help – and my brother and sister-in-law are successful Harriers, so they have been giving me hints and tips.
“I’m really looking forward to going to Venice now.”
To donate to Emma’s cause, visit her JustGiving page HERE.