A BELLYDANCING mum of eight is planning to run the London Marathon for the first time – and the Edinburgh Marathon just four weeks later.

Carol Goodwin, of Thorndown Close, St Ives, also holds down two jobs but is still planning to raise money for Action on Pre Eclampsia (APEC). She has already collected £400, just three weeks after finding out she had a place in this year's event.

She told The Hunts Post: "I have only been running for five months so this going to be quite an achievement!"

Mrs Goodwin chose APEC as the beneficiary of her hardwork because she suffered complications during her last two pregnancies. Although it wasn't pre eclampsia, the condition was still life-threatening and following the birth of her eighth child her husband was told to call the family priest because she was not expected to last the night.

Mrs Goodwin explained: "I wanted to raise funds for a charity connected to pregnancy because it is something close to my heart, having eight children.

"I suffered complications during my last two pregnancies. I had a condition called an abruption of the placenta, where the placenta starts to come away. It's life-threatening for the mother and the baby can die. With my seventh baby, they did an emergency caesarean and everything was fine but with my last one, Phoebe, immediately following the caesarean I started bleeding but blood didn't clot. I had a massive haemorrhage and need over 40 pints of blood. My husband was told that I wasn't going to survive the night and the staff said if you have a priest, call him. He was devastated. He was told that if I did survive I could have major organ failure.

"Luckily, I didn't have any further complications, I came round after 24 hours. I was very lucky. The baby was fine but we were both kept in hospital for 10 days.

"Since then, I have tried to live my life to the full - because you never know. I don't do anything by halves since then. I have gone back to work full time and I started teaching zumba and bellydancing and I also perform."

Mrs Goodwin will be running the marathon with her 25-year-old daughter Amanda, who is raising money for the British Heart Foundation.

Mrs Goodwin is also organising a zumbathon, with six instructors teaching a marathon class to raise more funds for APEC.

She said: "I want to do as much as I can. I'm lucky to have the support of my family. If I can do it, anyone can."

She has competed in local running events where her supportive husband, Mervyn, volunteered as a marshal.

Mrs Goodwin said: "I couldn't do all of this without his help. He can turn his hand to anything and is really helpful."

She said that she had planned to have a big family - and knew after the birth of her fourth child that she would have eight.

She added: "I just didn't tell my husband! I just knew I wanted to have a lot of children. I wanted to have 10 but the day after my last baby was born I had an emergency hysterectomy because they couldn't control the bleeding. It was devastating. It took me quite some months to come to terms with it but maybe it was for the best - maybe I wouldn't have accomplished everything that I have if we had had more children."

Mrs Goodwin is hoping to raise £750 for APEC and has pledged to run both events in fancy dress - as superwoman, naturally - if she reaches her target.

INFORMATION: Sponsor Carol Goodwin at www.justgiving.com/carolgoodwin. The zumbathon is £5 for one hour or £10 for all three hours and will take place at HBK Leisure, Hinchingbrooke School, Brampton Road, Huntingdon on Sunday, February 26, from 10am until 1pm.