Retired equine vet takes on mammoth marathon challenge to support mental health

  • A retired equine vet ran 38 marathons in 38 days to raise awareness for mental health and suicide prevention in the veterinary profession.

    Alice Sheldon took on the mammoth challenge for worldwide charity Not One More Vet (NOMV), which aims to “transform the status of mental wellness within the profession”. She has so far raised $5,257 (£4,332) and created a lasting impact through initiating annual runs to ensure the message and awareness continues to spread for years to come.

    She crossed the finish line of her 38th consecutive marathon at Onley Grounds Equestrian Complex on Sunday.

    “Physically, I’m fine – mentally, I’m exhausted!” Alice told H&H on Wednesday (11 October).

    She said she was inspired by the charity’s “race around the world” challenge, which encourages people to get active, and many people joined her for part of her own mammoth challenge.

    “It became a very inclusive thing, which was great – I didn’t want it to be just about my marathons,” she said.

    Alice worked in equine practice for 17 years and retired after developing Ménière’s disease, a condition that affects balance. The profession remains close to her heart and she works closely with many vets and vet nurses through her new health and fitness career.

    “I wanted to get people talking about it, rather than just sweeping it under the carpet and thinking ‘it will be ok’, until it’s not,” said Alice, who previously practised at Towcester Vets, where her husband, Mike, is a partner.

    H&H has previously reported on research showing that vets are at a greater risk than the average population of some mental health issues and suicide.

    Alice ran at locations all over the country, including alongside top ultra-runner Jasmin Paris in Edinburgh – where Alice studied veterinary medicine – at Liverpool vet school, and between veterinary practices.

    Alice said she was “overwhelmed” with the support she received. As well as donations, friends, family and supporters pulled together to help in other ways – planning routes, running stints alongside her and making dinners to support her in every way they could.

    She has already left a lasting legacy at the Royal Dick School in Edinburgh, as the event will return as an annual fun run in future.

    “I did a lot of local running as well – there’s a local point-to-point trainer and I would see him on each of his lots!” she said.

    “Ultimately, the reason to do this is to inspire humans to be kinder to other humans. Being that listening ear or that person that reaches out to ask, ‘are you ok?’.”

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