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Top vegan athlete Fiona Oakes has racked up another world record time to add to her impressive resume.
This time the distance runner, who is also well known for running a major animal sanctuary, took on a unique challenge.
After training for several ultra stage runs this year, Oakes had to drop her plans when a nearby farm came up for sale. The property was ideal for the sanctuary and as a new education resource project, although the project has taken time away from the running projects.
But she told Great Vegan Athletes she ‘wanted to do something for the animals and to promote veganism’.
Despite training all year for distance and not speed, Oakes undertook a challenge which would require her to be fast.
“I have run in my cow outfit before and looked at doing a Guinness World Record for the fastest woman in an animal costume over 100km but this is not a recognised Guinness distance so they suggested the half Marathon,” she told Great Vegan Athletes.
“I thought I would be sadly lacking in speed – especially in a cow costume – but decided to give it a try and hope that what I had – coupled with massive endurance – might see me through. Sadly I didn’t factor in 20 + mile an hour winds, rain and freezing cold!”
Daylight night run
Oakes picked Tromso Half Marathon in Norway as it complied with Guinness restrictions on verifying distance, proof, photographs and documentation.
Cancelled flights, delays and airport fires all played their part. Eventually she took her place at the starting line at 10.30pm. The supposed midnight sun turned out to be midnight storms, causing a host of extra issues.
“The cow suit acted like a kite and some points and I feared being whisked off into the Arctic Ocean and ending up as polar bear breakfast!” Oakes told GVA from Tromso airport. “Holding my ears and horns on was another challenge as was the weight of a wet, soggy, freezing cold cow suit clinging to you!”
The record stood at 1:46, which an accomplished runner could normally do easily under good conditions – but these conditions were more challenging.
A difficult run made more difficult
Resting in the hotel before the race, Oakes was concerned about the toll the weather and the difficult journey would cause.
“Knowing I had to run in it later that night dressed as a cow was pretty grim but, like I always say, knowing the 70 billion reasons you are there and trying to give them a voice to be heard, always makes you dig that bit deeper than the rest.”
The suit itself was very uncomfortable and this was clearly not going to be an easy novelty record.
“The suit did hamper me considerably and was very uncomfortable but not early as bad as what so many animals – human and non human – suffer every single minute of every single day of their horrendous existences. It gives you no room or reason to complain.”
The athlete finished in one hour 32 minutes, taking 14 minutes off the old record.
“Initially I think they thought I was there as a bit of a joke but when it became apparent I meant business it went really well and the interest from all concerned was great. So many people came over to me after the event and so many and much support on the course.”
Oakes is the subject ofupcoming documentary Running For Good
Despite the latest entry in the Guinness records, Oakes has no time to rest.
“I’m supposed to be running a stage race in the Gobi Desert next month and this is what I have really trained for but with the Sanctuary indecision I can’t bank on getting there as the animals always come first and I may need to be here for the move.
“We shall see!”
Fiona Oakes has also broken records relating to running marathons on each continent and even the North Pole. She has the course record for the North and South pole marathons. This is on top of running a large vegan animal sanctuary. You can find out morehere
Guinness World Records is yet to confirm the record.