A DEDICATED marathon runner has braved ‘sweat, tears and lost toenails’ to complete the epic challenge of running ten marathons in ten days.
Janet Shepherd has tested her body to the limit, negotiating 262 hilly miles of the Brathay 10 in 10 challenge around Lake Windermere in Cumbria.
The Sutton-based running enthusiast has also become the fastest 55-year-old woman to complete the course and has nearly reached her staggering £5,000 target.
But Janet said the charity, which helps young people with disadvantaged backgrounds to succeed, is ‘well worth’ the effort and training regime.
“Having met some of the inspirational staff who work for the Brathay Trust and heard what some of the young people they work with have to say, has really made me feel the marathons have been worthwhile,” she said.
The charity works to engage and inspire young people who are experiencing difficulties in their lives, supporting their personal and social development, aspirations and life chances.
“Youth workers show them there is a way of doing things by motivating them and treating them as adults – something these people probably aren’t used to.”
Janet ran the marathon course around Lake Windermere in May with 15 other disciplined athletes from across the UK.
“The first five marathons weren’t too bad. The running was actually quite pleasant. The first half was through pretty countryside. We were quite lucky with the weather and the scenery almost takes your mind off it,”said Janet.
“The last few miles were always tricky. But once we reached ice cream mountain – just a steep hill with a van on it – you feel like you are nearly there. You just have to set your mind to it.
“Yoga has really helped with the training – you develop a way of thinking that gives you energy.”
The runners put themselves through a vigorous routine of stretching and preparing, and Janet found herself needing a lot of extra sleep.
“We had massages, stretched and tried to get as much protein as possible. We used a converted horsebox as an ice bath.”
As with many marathon runners, Janet relishes the endurance challenge, but said the supporters were invaluable.
“School kids in Hawkshead came out to cheer us on, and other held a banner after our fifth marathon saying ‘over the hump’. It was lovely.”
Janet was inspired to complete the Brathay 10 in 10 after reading about Bognor hairdresser Lee Boniface’s preparation for the challenge in the Observer two years ago.
“The charity and the challenge sounded fantastic, so I applied for it.”
To donate to the Brathay Trust, visit Janet’s just giving page www.justgiving.com/JanetShepherd1010