A PERSHORE woman will tackle the famous London Marathon for real after previously conquering a virtual version.

Claire Elston will do the 26.2-mile challenge on her birthday weekend in memory of her cat Monkey while raising cash for Kempsey-based RSPCA Worcester and Mid-Worcestershire The Holdings.

The human resources consultant and leadership trainer and coach runs her own business Elston HR and turns out for club Pershore Plum Plodders.

Claire, 40, explained: “I found a cat in France in 2008 and called her Monkey — she ended up travelling all around France with me.

“She sadly passed away in 2022 and I took some of her food into the local RSPCA The Holdings.

“I was running the Virtual London Marathon in October 2022 so I decided to raise money for them.

“We also adopted two little kittens called Minty and Eric.

“I ran the marathon virtually around Pershore and then did Rome marathon in March 2023.

“This year I was lucky enough to get the ballot place through my running club, the Pershore Plum Plodders, which has meant I can raise money for our local charity once again.

“The charity is always desperate for donations and support.

“Over the last few years there has been an astonishing number of animals needing a home and the RSPCA The Holdings has been inundated.

“I have asked the employees to write a list of all the items that they want to buy for the cats, dogs, rabbits and mice and, with the money I raise, they will be purchasing these items.

“It is nice to see where the money is going and the team at The Holdings, both employees and volunteers, really appreciate it.

“Last summer I wrote a book called ‘A French Cat Named Monkey’ which I published in memory of my lovely cat Monkey — 25 per cent of profits go to the RSPCA The Holdings.

“I completed my longest training run on Saturday, March 23, the Gloucester Fission 20-mile run.

“I am now ready to take on the challenge of the 26.2 miles in London.

“What an amazing opportunity and thanks to my running club Pershore Plum Plodders for this chance!

“The London Marathon takes place on Sunday, April 21 which will also be my birthday weekend!”

Claire would welcome any sponsors at her fundraising page at www.justgiving.com/page/claire-elston-1710448385593.

She has raised more than £300 so far and hopes to hit the £1,000 mark.

The Worcester and Mid-Worcestershire branch of the RSPCA, formed in 1911, is a separate charity from the national RSPCA.

Its centre currently holds cats and small animals with plans to expand the intake to dogs as soon as funds are secured to build a new kennel block, reception, dog grooming facility and vet room.

Its main aim is to rehome animals within the areas of Worcester, Malvern, Droitwich, Redditch, Bromsgrove, Rubery, Alcester, Henley-in-Arden, Pershore and its surrounding districts.