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Inspirational Vegan, Fiona Oakes
Posted 13 August 2013
Tower Hill Stables animal sanctuary is home to 400 animals, including pigs, ducks, sheep, dogs, cats, and horses. Many of them are rejects from the farming industry – exhausted sheep too weak to produce milk for their young, lame cows deemed not worth treating – whilst others are the consequence of impulsive pet-buying: dogs who are ‘too much trouble’, unwanted kittens born to unspayed mothers, even a ‘pet’ pig whose novelty wore off. But their luck changes the moment they arrive at Tower Hill Stables, where they live out their days being well fed and much loved.
The sanctuary is run by Fiona Oakes, her partner, Martin, and her mother, Meg. Don’t ask us how, but somehow, in between feeding, mucking out and otherwise tending to 400 animals, Fiona finds the time to train and compete as a marathon runner. And a very successful one at that! Just this week, in fact, Fiona won the Isle of Man marathon, which constituted the European leg of a very formidable challenge that she has embarked upon: to take on the world record for running the Seven Continents and Polar Ice Cap marathons. This entails, over the next three months, running a marathon on every continent, finishing with the Antarctic Marathon in November. It makes us tired just thinking about it!
What makes us respect Fiona all the more is that, as we all know, some people have a preconceived idea that vegans are unhealthy wimps. But dispelling this image and proving that not only can you exist but also can thrive on a vegan diet, Fiona is plant-powered, fuelling her body with one hundred per cent animal-free nutrients.
‘My main goal is to dispel the common myths re veganism – that it is in some way a deficient diet, that you cannot perform at the top level in sport on it, that it does not sustain or lend itself to endurance and healthy living and also that it is hard to adhere to abroad.’
Having clocked up four marathon course records, Fiona proves anyone who thinks those things wrong, and is a fantastic poster girl for veganism. She will be running:
- North Pole Marathon – April 2013. Completed! And won!
- Europe (Isle of Man) – Sunday 11th August. Now completed! And won!
- Australia (Adelaide) – 25th August
- Asia (Omsk) – 22nd September
- Africa (Casablanca) – 27th October
- America (Fort Worth) – 10th November
- South America (Atacama Desert) – mid November
- Antarctica – end November when weather permits!
We wish her the very best of luck with the Seven Continents and Polar Ice Cap marathons challenge. Go Fiona!