SUPERGRAN Ruth Anderson has been reaching for the skies.
The high-flying pensioner has just returned from a holiday in Hisaronu, Turkey, where she took part in her first-ever paragliding trip, reaching heights of 6,000ft – at the age of 78!
But such exploits are nothing new for the remarkable Mrs Anderson.
She is preparing for the gruelling Three Peaks challenge in Yorkshire later this month to help raise funds for the work of the British Red Cross.
And as part of her preparation, she has been heading off on 17-mile walks once a week – and regularly running up and down the 132 steps at Marsden Grotto.
The retired youth and community worker has also reached the summits of Mount Snowdon in Wales, Scotland’s Ben Nevis and Machu Pichu in Peru.
The diminutive pensioner has found time to compete in an impressive 14 Great North Runs and next year, to mark the beginning of her 80th year, she is planning to compete in the London Marathon.
Skiing is another passion and, with her husband of 58 years, Charles, she always takes on the most challenging ‘black runs’.
But the ebullient keep-fit fanatic has one last challenge left to achieve – to parachute from an aeroplane.
“I haven’t ruled it out, but my husband isn’t that keen on me doing it,” says daredevil Ruth, from Marsden.
The mother-of-two and grandmother-to-four added: “I don’t know where I get all the energy. It just comes naturally to me. I suppose it’s part of my make-up.
“I keep being asked ‘what are you doing next?’ The paragliding was exhilarating, but I wasn’t afraid at all. Fear wasn’t a factor.
“It was pretty similar to skiing in some ways, and we always head for the black runs on the first day of our holidays.
“I had planned to go paragliding in Turkey a couple of years ago but it was cancelled because of a dispute, so I was determined to do it this time.
“I’ve always played sport and been active. I played netball competitively until I was 45 and squash competitively until I was 62.
“Myself and my husband have done the Three Peaks separately, on different occasions, but he will be doing the first peak with me this time round.”
Mrs Anderson, who competes in the Yorkshire Challenge on Saturday, July 19, is yet to decide whether she will take part in this year’s Great North Run, but is determined to complete next year’s London Marathon.
She added: “I know what I do is not for everyone of my age, but it just comes naturally to me.”
To support the work of the British Red Cross, call the Newcastle office on 222 1815.