A happy moment for Fiona following a long spell of bad luck!
Set in and around Rovaniemi – the largest city (by area) in Europe – in the
North of Finland (Lapland) the Santa Claus Marathon is a tough event. The course
is on & off road and is hilly. When Fiona won Halstead in 2007, setting a new
course record (which still stands), she was the first ever lady to go under 3
hours as Halstead is a tough course – BUT not as tough as the Santa Claus Marathon !
Fiona ran most of the way with the man who won the race. He was from Helsinki &
a 2 hour 30 runner. He had gone to Rovaniemi to set a new men’s course record,
as that stood at 2 hours 47 mins, however he only just managed to finish in just
under 3 hours – 2: 59 odd and Fiona finished a few minutes behind him in 3:03.
Despite the 26 degree heat and the strong wind, Fiona managed to set a new
ladies course record, shaving eleven & a half minutes off the previous one set
by a French woman last year when conditions for running were more favorable.
That’s 2 marathon wins & 2 course records set ! – Not bad for a Vegan gal with a
knee replacement is it?
What a fantastic result !!
Considering all the bad luck that has plagued Fiona these past months, the
disappointment on missing out of running Geneva & then catching flu ahead of the
Essex Championship Marathon & then the heartache of the loss of Max the horse
who Fiona has cared for for 30 years, it is surprising that she felt able to run
at all – let alone achieve this kind of result on top of her colossal workload here.
We had not publicised that Fiona was going to do this race in Lapland as the
“pressure of expectation” to do well, would have been crushing on top of
everything else, so we kept it quiet and Fiona slipped out of the Country on
and raced on Saturday night in Lapland – well I say night, of course it’s 24
hour sunshine in Lapland this time of year – the land of the midnight sun! –
Fiona said it was hard to sleep with the sun blazing down all night ! – a most
bizarre experience indeed.
Fiona is now not only the ‘Marathon Champion’ of Lapland, but also the fastest
female marathon runner ever within the Arctic Circle – that’s cool in several
Fiona ran in her Vegan Runners top & spoke to a number of people who were
interested in her lifestyle choice. Certainly a good way to spread the message
of a cruelty free lifestyle as Fiona is living proof that being Vegan is not
detrimental to top performance in endurance sport.
Fiona’s win made the headlines of the National Newspaper in Finland & of course
a Vegan winning the marathon in a country so dominated by hunting, shooting &
fishing is news indeed. This was evident at the awards ceremony as the first
prize was a reindeer pelt… – By a piece of ironic good fortune, Fiona was not
able to attend the ceremony as her knee was too painful, thus avoiding a
potentially embarrassing situation ! – Fiona was able to explain her position to
an official & they seemed to understand, presenting her with an alternate
prize… a very expensive, beautifully presented …Hunting Knife !
Fiona only went to this marathon to promote her Vegan lifestyle & it was touch &
go in the last few days as she really has been at rock bottom. However she was
determined to make a statement and in memory of Max decided to go for it in the
hope that her effort might make a difference for some animal somewhere that is
not loved as much as he was.
If you would like to retrospectively sponsor Fiona for the race, please do get
in touch & we do hope you understand why we didn’t announce this on the website
The PayPal is firstname.lastname@example.org or by cheque payable to Tower Hill
Stables Animal Sanctuary, at Asheldham, Essex, CM0 7DZ
All donations 100% towards the feed bills
on behalf of Fiona & the Gang !