MILITARY widow Janine Fountain will run to represent the entire nation’s Army widows this weekend.
The former Mexborough girl, who as a front-line soldier served two terms in Afghanistan and one in Iraq, will do the London Marathon to “reach out” to bereaved servicewomen.
She first trained for the London Marathon 12 years ago, with her husband of five months. But tragically, she never made the run with Steve - he was killed after he became involved in a fight.
Now Janine feels ready to tackle the run alone.
The 40-year old said: “I am emotional due to the enormity of the challenge. It’s just me for this charity among the predicted 34,000. But I know Steve will be with me and can draw strength from that.
“The AWA is for widows in all circumstances. We don’t advertise, and as a South Yorkshire Times reader I feel that with your help I can reach out to others and do some much-needed fundraising along the way.”
Janine was a former Mexborough Grammar School pupil, whose family are still scattered around the town.
They, and the AWA, played a major part in helping her rebuild her shattered life after Steve’s death.
She and Steve shared only a brief honeymoon before being posted miles apart...Janine to Northern Ireland and Steve to Poole in Dorset.
They had no children. But funds Janine raises will pay for activities other dads might do with their children, if they were around, she said.
“I am nervous. But being an ex-soldier you have a fitness level that never really leaves you. You know when to dig deep and pull that extra bit of energy up,” she said.
The support the AWA gave Janine was such that she is now a full ambassador for the service, in her role as regional representative.
“I hope to inspire the widows and let them know that with the AWA’s help you can have a life after death,” she said.
“I found them on the internet by chance and attended a weekend retreat in 2007. I thought it would be the ‘twinset and pearl’ brigade but it was women just like me with a common understanding - instant friends! I was overwhelmed by their support and their acts of kindness.”
To support Janine visit www.justgiving.com/janinefountain or www.armywidows.org.uk
Steve’s sister, Michelle, first ran the London Marathon for him in 2001, after his death. The crack shot soldier served in Germany, Bosnia and Northern Ireland during his career in the forces.