A TEACHING assistant from Hayle has chosen to mark a milestone birthday in an unusual way – by running a marathon with her dad.
After turning 30 in December, Kirsty Smitheram was determined to do something challenging and entered herself and dad Roger into the ballot for the London Marathon.
Kirsty, who works at Constantine Primary School, said it was a huge surprise when both their names were picked.
She said: "I wanted to do something that was quite memorable in my 30th year. I didn't think for one minute two members of the same family would get in. I just think it's a once in a lifetime opportunity."
Since springing the news on her dad, the pair have been out training together five times a week in preparation for the April run.
Roger, a founding member of Hayle Runners, has a lot of experience and has run the London Marathon five times already. But for Kirsty, a novice runner, it has been a shock to the system.
"I didn't realise how much training we had to do, it's been hard. I don't think I'd be as dedicated without my dad. He knows what we need to do and pushes me each time," added Kirsty.
Roger was an Olympic torch bearer in 2012 and has decided to don his tracksuit once again for the special occasion. He said although being entered into the ballot was a surprise, he was looking forward to taking on the challenge with his daughter for the first time.
"What are the chances of a father and daughter entering the ballot and getting in? What could I say? The training is intense but we know that. It will be lovely for me and Kirsty to cross the line together. I think there will be a few tears," said Roger.
The 63-year-old said they would like to complete the race in six hours, but finishing side-by-side was their main aim.
The pair are raising money for two charities – St Julia's Hospice and Cornwall Down's Syndrome Support Group.
To make a donation visit www.virginmoneygiving.com/team/OAPand30