Terminal cancer sufferer Jane Tomlinson is cycling the length of Britain to raise money for charity.

She takes a break from her punishing ride to talk to Women's Editor Christen Pears.

JANE Tomlinson and her brother Luke Goward pull up on their tandem, looking tired but happy. Since this morning, the pair have ridden 65 miles from Corbridge in Northumberland to Bedale in North Yorkshire, crossing the half-way mark in their epic 1,082-mile cycle ride from John O'Groats to Land's End.

With climbs amounting to 75,000ft - two-and-half-times the height of Mount Everest - it would be a gruelling challenge for anyone, but 39-year-old Jane is suffering from incurable bone cancer. It's almost three years since she was told by doctors that she had only two years to live but in that time, she has become the first terminally-ill competitor to complete the London Marathon, London Triathlon and Great North Run, raising £100,000 for charity. Her extraordinary achievements have won her a number of high-profile awards, including The Sunday Times Sportswoman of the Year and the BBC Sports Personality of the Year's Helen Rollason Award.

In November, the mother-of-three announced she was giving up competitive running to take a well-earned rest but although she's hung up her running shoes, she couldn't resist another challenge. The John O'Groats to Land's End cycle ride was something she had been thinking about for a while.

"Luke and I had fancied doing it but I didn't know whether I was going to be well enough. We've been planning it for a long time and I'm so pleased that I'm able to do it. We're tired but we're enjoying ourselves."

The pair hope to raise £100,000. They're already more than half way there and say the response is getting stronger as they cycle their way down the country.

Jane, who lives in Rothwell, near Leeds, was diagnosed with breast cancer, aged just 26. She underwent a mastectomy, but the cancer returned two years ago, spreading to her lungs and bones. The doctors told her it was incurable but she wasn't prepared to just sit back and wait to die.

"If somebody told you you were dying, what would you do?" she asks. "As far as I'm concerned there are two choices. I've chosen to get on with my life and enjoy it. It's sad that I'm so fit now but that I'm still going to die, but that's life, isn't it?"

Her mental and physical strength are remarkable but when anyone suggests she's brave, she brushes it aside. "I'm just getting on with things," she says. Ask her how she's feeling and she says simply: "Fine."

Jane and Luke started their journey on March 21 and hope to finish on April 11. March 27 and April 2 were set aside as rest days, when Jane returns to Leeds for chemotherapy, as well as an injection of the blood-boosting agent EPO. Without the treatment, her health deteriorates rapidly. Her blood count drops, leaving her feeling dizzy and nauseous. However, the chemotherapy can also leave her feeling drained, making the ride even more gruelling.

"I don't have any expectations about chemo. I just go in and see how I feel afterwards. I'm actually not as tired as I thought I would be. We've had to make a few extra stops just to make sure I don't feel sick, but I'm managing quite well.

"We're both tired, but I'm suffering far less than Luke at the moment. He's got a lot of aches and pains but we keep each other going."

During the three weeks, the brother and sister will see little of their families. Every moment Jane spends with her husband Mike and their children, Suzanne, 17, Rebecca 14, and Steven, five, is precious, but the ride is something she feels she has to do.

Although she had never taken part in any competitive sport, Jane did enjoy swimming. Ironically, it was only after her cancer returned two-and-a-half years ago, that she took up sport seriously.

"I joined a gym when I was poorly to give me something to do on days after chemo and it just grew from there. I found it gave me something to focus on and, of course, I'm able to raise money for charity at the same time."

Jane works as a paediatric radiographer at St James's Hospital in Leeds, where 37-year-old Luke is a shift leader in the A&E department. For the cycle ride, they have been training five days a week. They've found it difficult to fit it in around their jobs but, inspired by his sister, Luke was just as determined to complete the challenge.

He says: "We knew it wasn't going to be easy but we both wanted to do it so much, nothing was going to get in the way. Before we started, we were excited but nervous at the same time. We're past the half-way stage now and it feels great."

But reaching Land's End on April 1 won't be the end of Luke's exertions. The following day, he will travel up to London to take part in the London Marathon on the 13th, along with Jane's husband, Mike and 50 other runners raising money for Jane's Appeal.

"It's going to be hard for him after all the miles we'll have covered but he'll get through. I've really enjoyed myself but want to spend some time with my family now. They deserve to see me and I think I deserve a rest."

Noone could disagree with that.

* Money raised from the bike ride will be split between four organisations: Cancer Research UK, Sport Aided Research for Kids, and Leeds Hospital Trust paediatric services will each receive 30 per cent. The remainder is for Hannah House, a respite care centre in Rothwell.

* Donations can be sent to The Jane Tomlinson Appeal, Yorkshire Building Society, Commercial Street, Rothwell, Leeds LS26 0AW. Sort Code: 57 00 45. Account Number 5349471430.

*l To follow Jane's progress or make a donation online, log onto www.janesappeal.co