BOOLAROO mum-of-two Simone McNamara is not in it to win it - she's in it for her family.
This month Mrs McNamara will enter the Lake Macquarie Running Festival, which encourages participants to raise funds for its chosen charity, the John Hunter Children's Hospital.
The paediatric service is close to Mrs McNamara's heart, having been in and out of the hospital with her 18-month-old daughter, Kara, since she was born.
Kara was born in October 2012 with congenital heart disease.
She was rushed to Westmead Children's Hospital to undergo lifesaving surgery when she was six weeks old.
Twelve weeks later, Kara was admitted to John Hunter Children's Hospital for further surgery.
She spent the next six months making frequent visits to the hospital, including to have an ovarian cyst removed and receive treatment for meningitis.
"It's all still so fresh in my mind," Mrs McNamara said.
"I still get teary from time to time."
Now a happy and healthy little girl, Kara is her mum's main inspiration.
Since starting in March 2013 with 300-strong women's running group the Night Striders, Mrs McNamara has entered several charity fun runs and raised more than $10,000 for Westmead Children's Hospital's HeartKids foundation.
Inspired by the Lake Macquarie Running Festival's cause, Mrs McNamara decided to enter her first half marathon at this year's event.
"I'm not the fastest runner but I'm going to finish, for Kara," she said.
Mrs McNamara is sitting at the top of the festival's fund-raising leaderboard with $1255.
Visit everydayhero.com/au and search Simone McNamara to donate.
■ The 2014 Lake Macquarie Running Festival will be held on Sunday, August 31, from 8am. Events follow the Lake Macquarie foreshore between Warners Bay and Speers Point. Go to lakehalf.com for more information or to enter.