A show jumper is swapping riding boots for trainers as she prepares to take on one of the world’s toughest marathons in aid of an equine military support charity.
Shauney Watson, who has competed up to 1.30m and also works as a riding instructor, is running the Everest marathon on 27 November, hoping to raise £2,000 for Horseback UK.
The 21-year-old ran her first marathon at Loch Ness in September 2015 in aid of Combat Stress.
She has since completed a number of ultra-marathons and off-road races over mountainous terrain to qualify for the Everest run, the world’s highest marathon.
Shauney has no military connections, but studying hypnotherapy and learning about post traumatic stress disorder and the work that Combat Stress and Horseback UK do to help ex-servicemen and women has inspired her.
“I thought it was such a worthwhile cause,” she told H&H.
“After I ran the Loch Ness Marathon I thought ‘I need another challenge’.”
She added that she did not expect to be accepted for this year’s Everest marathon as by the entry cut-off date at the start of the year she still had some qualifying runs to complete.
But her fitness levels were good enough for her to be accepted and she has been training hard in preparation.
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“I think the most worrying aspect is the altitude — there’s nothing you can really do about it,” said Shauney.
“We will be running on half the normal oxygen levels. The temperature is also going to be quite a challenge as we could be setting off in around -20C and it could vary up to +30C.
“It is just going to be the most incredible place to run — there are trails that have 300m drops next to them — that is what I’m really looking forward to, the scenery and being in a totally different culture.”
The marathon is listed in the Guinness Book of Records as the highest in the world and runners spend 26 days training in Nepal to acclimatise to the altitude.
The start is at Gorak Shep, which lies 17,000ft above sea level, and the finish at the Sherpa town of Namche Bazaar (11,300ft).
Shauney is also seeking sponsorship to help fund her through the trip, but stressed all fundraising donations will go to Horseback UK.
The Scotland-based charity uses horsemanship and the outdoors to develop confidence and self-esteem in ex-servicemen and women.
To sponsor Shauney, visit: www.justgiving.com/fundraising/run-watson-run
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