MOTHER-of-three Sara Lord confesses she doesn't measure up to the athletic type of Cheshire housewife.

She uses power walking in the country lanes near home to keep fit and trim.

But after weeks in training, she is setting off on a long-distance walking marathon most expert ramblers would find a hard slog.

Sara, 49, who grew up in Sale before the family moved to Goostrey, is hitting the road to complete a 26-mile marathon every day next week for the intensive care unit of East Cheshire NHS Trust at Macclesfield Hospital.

"I am fairly fit and I have never attempted to walk so far, " said Sara.

"But I am determined to complete five of them in five days, and have already finished one walk of 23 miles and another of 18 in preparation.

"I've also made sure I've got in a big supply of Epsom salts for a good soak in the bath at the end of the day to get rid of the aches and pains and blisters.

"The most I have done before on foot is nine miles - and that was only because walking with my husband and dog Poppy we got lost on holiday in North Wales."

Sara, who lives with her husband Karl, 53, and daughters, Millie, 23, Scarlet, 13, and son, Max, 19, will have companions on several of the days.

Her cousin Olivia Birchenough, a presenter on Channel 5's children's Milkshake programme, and staff from the hospital's unit will join her mid-week.

However, for most of the time, she will be alone on the long-distance trek with the family only ready to step in along the way to help if needed.

Sara promised to raise £3,000 towards a £10,000 intensive care bed in memory of her dad Graham Lenihan when he died in the unit in November following a five-week battle for his life.

Graham, a Goostrey parish councillor, was 73 when he passed away after collapsing from sepsis.

"It is an amazing unit and the staff were fantastic in their treatment of dad," said Sara, who filled the council vacancy caused by his death.

"Sadly dad lost his fight, but the unit fought hard for him and were so wonderful to him and to us it made the worst and darkest of days a little better.

"The staff showed compassion beyond the job. I could never possibly repay all they did for him, but felt I would like to do something to try to show how very special they are.

"What they do every day means so much to people who are facing the worst possible situations."

She has carefully planned the routes she intends to follow in Cheshire and Greater Manchester to complete the challenge.

She expects it will take seven hours to finish the walk each day.

Sara is setting off on Monday in the footsteps of the Manchester Marathon, followed by the Warrington Marathon and on the third day from Goostrey to Altrincham and return, ending among the lanes and footpaths linking villages from home.

Sara added: "Everyone has been very supportive, and know I will be able to complete all five marathon walks on the five days."

She has set up a JustGiving page on Facebook called Sara’s 5 marathons in 5 days to raise funds.