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Meet the women running 69 miles in 24 hours for mother who died of cancer

PUBLISHED: 14:46 07 June 2019

Michaela Yeates' daughter Erin Yeates with the ultra marathon team Sonia Froude, Rachael Howes, Sarah miller, and Heidi Haywood, in the shirts provided from NCFC. Photo: Bethany Wales

Michaela Yeates' daughter Erin Yeates with the ultra marathon team Sonia Froude, Rachael Howes, Sarah miller, and Heidi Haywood, in the shirts provided from NCFC. Photo: Bethany Wales

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Four women are taking on one of the toughest athletic challenges in the world to pay tribute to a friend from Norfolk who lost her life to an aggressive form of cancer earlier this year.

Michaela Yeates' daughter Erin Yeates with the ultra marathon team Sonia Froude, Rachael Howes, Sarah miller, and Heidi Haywood, in the shirts provided from NCFC. Photo: Bethany WalesMichaela Yeates' daughter Erin Yeates with the ultra marathon team Sonia Froude, Rachael Howes, Sarah miller, and Heidi Haywood, in the shirts provided from NCFC. Photo: Bethany Wales

When Michaela Yeates, originally from Wymondham, was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer aged 47 in June 2018, the lives of everyone who knew the popular football fan were turned upside down.

Less than seven months later, she lost her short battle with the disease, leaving behind 14-year-old daughter Erin Yeates and wife Jane Yeates, who she married just months before her death.

On June 15 four of her closest friends - Sonia Froude, Rachael Howes, Sarah Miller, and Heidi Haywood - will run the length of Hadrian's Wall as part of an ultra marathon called The Wall, organised by Rat Race Events.

The team will run 69 miles in 24 hours or less to raise money for St Andrews Hospice in Grimsby, where she spent the last few weeks of her life, and support research into pancreatic cancer.

Michaela Yeates before her cancer diagnosis with daughter Erin Yeates. Photo: SubmittedMichaela Yeates before her cancer diagnosis with daughter Erin Yeates. Photo: Submitted

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Ms Howes, 33, met Mrs Yeates 10 years ago at Taverham Football Club and said the keen sportswoman had supported her friends' training throughout treatment.

She said: "Michaela would go out on her mobility scooter and support our teammate Sarah on her training runs. We have a video of her telling Sarah 'these 69 miles aren't going to run themselves' and no doubt we'll be watching it on the day to help us through."

The 33-year-old said the gruelling training was a small price to pay for helping fund further research into pancreatic cancer, which only carries a 1 pc chance of survival for more than 10 years after diagnosis.

Micheala Yeates with wife Jane Yeates on their wedding day, shortly debfore Michaela's death in January 2019. Photo: SubmittedMicheala Yeates with wife Jane Yeates on their wedding day, shortly debfore Michaela's death in January 2019. Photo: Submitted

Despite the bleakness of the situation, Ms Howes said sharing memories of the mother of one bought them joy everyday.

"Michaela was one of the funniest, most down to earth people in the world. She worked at a high school with students who had behavioural issues and they thought she was great, they trusted her. Losing your best friend is very emotional, but we're going to be thinking of her for the entire 69 miles and having this team has made this whole thing bearable."

Find out more on the team's Virgin Money page.

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