Running one marathon is a great challenge for anyone so imagine the task facing Sarah Clark, Brechin, and Carrie-Ann Smith, from Arbroath, who tackled a 53-mile multi-terrain ultra-marathon on Saturday, April 27.
Taking place along the West Highland Way from Milngavie to Tynedrum the challenge was to run the route in less than 15 hours under the team name ‘It’s NET for fun’.
Despite only having run a handful of half-marathons in the past the pair decided to run for the charity ‘NET Patient Foundation incorporating Living with Carcinoid’, to raise awareness and funds for Neuroendocrine (NET) cancer, a rare cancer that is often misdiagnosed.
The NET Patient foundation provide support and information to patients and families affected by NETs, offer resources to medical professionals to help aid diagnosis and strive to raise funds for research.
Although rare, Carrie and Sarah know of two families that have been affected by NETs, which is what spurred them to take on this feat.
Now in its eight year, the Highland Fling is set to be one of Britian’s most popular ultra-marathons.
This is the second year that Carrie has organised a team for the Highland Fling after spurring another friend and 10 royal marines to run it last year for the same cause.
Taking to the Brechin path network, Sarah’s training went mostly according to plan - unfortunately Carrie faced a number of injuries, preventing her from training for two months leading up to the race.
Weather was on their side on race day and after reaching the second checkpoint at Balmaha at 19 miles, Carrie, who had at times struggled, realised she was not going to finish the race and decided that Sarah would go on to try and finish it for the team.
When Sarah got the next checkpoint she was informed that Carrie was running again after a kind physiotherapist offered a bit of encouragement and some work on her leg.
Carrie carried on and made her final call at Rowardennan - 27.2 miles into the race.
Sarah managed to run on to the finish line and complete the race within the 15 hour time limit - only just.
Sarah said: “A big thank you to Carrie’s boyfriend Josh who supported us all day and Carrie’s mum - who met me half a mile before the finish and took my bag and gave me that final boost to fly through the finish line. Thank you also to everyone that cheered us on spiritually!
“It was a fantastic day and we did both ourselves and the NET Patient Foundation proud!
“A final thank you to NetCancerDay.org who provided us with a custom drawn picture of Netty the zebra, an animation well known to NET cancer patients.
“Netty travels all over the world to raise awareness for NETs and she had never been to Scotland before so it was a pleasure to have her supporting us for the Highland Fling.
“Our total stands to date at around £2760 and still rising, thanks to all our sponsors so far.
“If you would like to donate you can still do so at http://uk.virginmoneygiving.com/team/itsnetforfun or call me on 01356 622488/07979648512 and I can drop by with my sponsor form.”