Vicky Willan, who aims to run from the top of Scotland to the south coast of England, has completed around 11 marathons in what will be a remarkable 1,100mile journey. Vicky began her run from Tongue in Northern Scotland, and plans to complete her top to bottom challenge within 7 weeks.
Vicky started her journey on August 20 and has so far passed through Fort William and Inverness as she made her way across the Scottish Highlands. This morning's (Thursday's) journey sees Vicky travel from Tomintoul towards Aberdeen.
The route has had to be altered slightly already, with Vicky running through the Great Glen Way rather than along the more treacherous A9. The diversion means Vicky has added extra mileage to her journey, which already translates to over a marathon a day.
Speaking to scottishnrunningguide.com, Vicky revealed that the Top To Bottom Challenge has so far been a journey of adaptability as well as endurance. Vicky commented, "So far both my diet and running technique has changed radically since the beginning. While I get up at maybe 7:30 in the morning I don't feel prepared to run until around midday."
Having already visited a physio about concerns over a swollen achilles and the pain caused by stress on her knee joints, Vicky, who has only participated in one organised half-marathon prior to this journey, has taken to a new approach, "I now take far shorter strides and try to imagine I am running on sponge. So far it has worked."
With her dietician's background, Vicky reveals that the psychological effects of long distance running has been one of the most compelling aspects of her journey so far, and has agreed to record the results for research related to emotional endurance for the University of Bournemouth.
Vicky is fundraising for the Mental Health Foundation and hopes to raise awareness of the importance and benefits of good physical health for people with mental illness. The proposed finish of October 10 is significant at the same date as World Mental Health Day, giving Vicky that extra source of motivation to complete her top to bottom challenge.
If you would like to follow Vicky's journey you can do so by visiting her blog.
Alternatively, if you would like to sponsor Vicky you can do so at her Justgiving page.