AS runners across Hampshire gear up for the ABP Southampton Marathon on April 22, one woman has the memory of someone very special to spur her on.

Jane Gould, 37, an NHS fundraising assistant, from Eastleigh, will be pounding the course in honour of her late mum, Sue Francis, 64.

Jane will wear her Southampton Hospital Charity vest with pride, to raise as much money as possible for the Cancer Information and Support Centre at University Hospital Southampton.

She said: “Mum and I both used their services during her battle with lung cancer, and I know how impressed she was and how helpful she found it.

“It was somewhere that both of us were able to go and sit and talk to the lovely staff and volunteers there.

“It has such a friendly and relaxed atmosphere, and they are there not only for the person suffering with the cancer - but also for their family and carers.”

Although Jane has done several half marathons, she said the experience never gets easier, with each challenge leaving its mark on body and mind: “They hurt,” she said.

“But there is one thing that will always get me over that finish line - and that is Mum. I choose to take part in these events even though I know they will hurt, but Mum never had that luxury.

"She had no choice but to endure the pain that the treatment gave her.

“From the very moment she was told there was something on her lung, she was scared. Yet she still fought it with everything she had right until the very end. I will never forget her bravery.”

Nikki Rees, one of the marathon organisers, said: “Like so many, Jane and her family have been affected by cancer - and the turmoil and sadness it brings. We’re proud she’ll be going all out for a charity that provides tremendously important practical and emotional support for those in need.

"We’d all like to wish her the very best on the day, as she faces this very personal challenge.”

The ABP Southampton Marathon takes place on Sunday, April 22.

It features a 10k, half marathon and children’s mile fun run as well as a full marathon.

All races start and finish in the heart of Southampton’s city centre with the run course taking in iconic local landmarks including the Bargate, Itchen Bridge, Riverside Park and the Common before reaching a stunning finish by the Guildhall in the city centre.