A Bolton businesswoman inspired by her sister's strength to overcome an eating disorder is to take on her own challenge at the end of the month.

Westhoughton’s, Aptus Utilities’ people director Natasha Clarke has been training hard for the Greater Manchester Run Half Marathon since January and hopes to raise funds for the eating disorder charity, Beat.

She was inspired by her sister Sian, who received support from the charity when she struggled with an eating disorder – and the sisters want to give something back.

Natasha runs regularly with the Burnden Road Runners and successfully completed the Bolton Wanderers Community 10k run in April.

The half marathon is the second part of a two-stage running challenge she has set out to achieve with her sister, Sian, who completed her challenge in April, crossing the finish line of the Manchester Marathon in a time of four hours and 13 minutes.

The siblings, who are both keen runners, were inspired to take on the challenge as a way to highlight Beat, which provides vital support to sufferers like Sian, who have struggled with eating disorders.

Natasha said: “Sian spent most of her childhood and early teen years suffering from Anorexia. In 2013, she was hospitalised and spent eight months in Galaxy House, in Manchester.

“Galaxy House was the nearest centre to home and yet it’s a 70 mile round trip. This meant hours of our time every week was spent up and down the motorway, just so we could see her.

The Bolton News: Natasha's sister SianNatasha's sister Sian (Image: Aptus Utilities)“Galaxy House is not a specialised unit, it's a unit for children with all types of mental health illnesses, and whilst they did their best by Sian, people with eating disorders need specialist support.

“There should be help for people with eating disorders closer to home, especially for children who are separated from their families for prolonged periods.

“Eating disorders are so much more common than most people think and yet are so underfunded and often go unrecognised until they have really taken a hold.

“It’s been just over 10 years since Sian decided to change her life and get a grip of her illness and we're so proud of how far she's come.

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“Running has become a huge part of Sian's life and I have fairly recently found a love for it too.

“So, this year, Sian ran the Manchester Marathon in April, and I am running Manchester Half Marathon in May, and we would be delighted if you could spare a little bit to help raise some funds for a much needing charity!”

With Sian’s side of the challenge completed, now it’s Natasha’s turn to undertake her longest run of 13 miles in the Manchester Half Marathon, which takes place on May 26.

Natasha says, “I don’t have a time in mind, I just want to cross the finish line, but for me, this will be a big achievement!”

Beat says around 1.25 million people in the UK suffer from an eating disorder, and people of all ages, genders, and backgrounds can be affected.

The Bolton News: Natasha ClarkeNatasha Clarke (Image: Aptus Utilities)These serious mental illnesses include anorexia, bulimia and binge eating disorder. As well as being potentially deadly, they severely affect the quality of life of both those suffering and those who care about them.

The challenge has also inspired Natasha to launch a running club, Aptus Run Club, at the Bolton business, so she can share her love of running with others.

The running group meets weekly after office hours and aims to support people to get outdoors and be more active.

To read more about Natasha and Sian's story or to donate, visit www.justgiving.com/page/natasha-clarke-1705351858776.

If you have a story or something you would like to highlight in the community, please email me at chloe.wilson@newsquest.co.uk or DM me on X @chloewjourno.