A DETERMINED schoolgirl is climbing her staircase more than 70 times a day to help families struggling to afford enough food amid Covid-19.

Zoe Cheal from Hove decided to set herself a challenge at the start of the third national lockdown after she discovered running up the stairs just three times a day can increase your fitness.

But the 11-year-old decided to take things to the next level as her stair runs became easier, and she is now doing the runs an incredible 76 times each day - the equivalent of climbing three mountains over 20 days.

Zoe’s mother Suzanne said: “We’ve climbed Snowden and Scafell Pike before, so we suggested Zoe try to do the equivalent of Ben Nevis, but she decided to do the Three Peaks Challenge - which is all of them combined.

“We measured our stairs and worked out she would have to climb up and down the stairs 1,532 times, which is 76 times a day over 20 days.

“I did think, 76 times a day - is she really going to be motivated to do it? But on day two she was not very well and she still did it."

Zoe is raising money for the Whitehawk Foodbank and has already reached 70 per cent of her £1,500 target amount through an online crowdfunding campaign.

The Argus: Zoe has even started doing the runs carrying her catZoe has even started doing the runs carrying her cat

The schoolgirl said: “I think at the moment people are really struggling as this virus has been going on for a year now and cases are rising.

“It feels amazing to be raising money as I just know people are going to be really happy they can have food.

“I have two breaks from home-schooling each day and I use up time to do some of my 76 runs then, so I do 26 runs in the morning and 25 at lunch.

“I think it’s getting easier as I’m getting fitter doing it and I’m getting a lot faster now than I was when I started.

“It’s just nice for me to think that I can help people.”

Zoe is now halfway through her 20 day challenge, and is using music to help her complete the runs, racing against the clock to complete them before a song finishes.

She has even started carrying one of her cats up the stairs while she runs to make the challenge harder, and is doing some of the runs in fancy dress.

Her mum Suzanne said she is really impressed with her daughter's efforts.

She said: “I know when Zoe puts her mind to something she is very determined.

“She’s been charging up and down the stairs - the cats don’t know what is going on.”

To make a donation, visit Zoe's crowdfunding page at www.givey.com/zoecheal.