Woman to run West Highland Way non-stop in winter
Caroline McKay is hoping to become the first woman to run the 95-mile West Highland Way non-stop in midwinter.
The 33-year-old Scottish aid worker sets off from Fort William on Friday December 16. Her aim is to finish in Milngavie within 24 hours.
Her ground-breaking run is raising funds to support young girls in Ethiopia to attend school. Already, Caroline, who is employed with the Edinburgh charity Link Community Development, has raised more than £2000 of a £3000 target.
Caroline, who has run the famous West Highland Way before but during the summer, knows the winter challenge will be a very different experience.
She says: “You never know what the Scottish weather might throw at you and while it has been mostly quite mild recently there could be a cold snap. I could face snow and ice and there will be many hours of darkness.
“Running non-stop over 95 miles and through a range of terrain is tough enough in the summer but the winter makes it a great deal tougher. I expect I will be pushing myself to my limits.
“Only a handful of men have managed to complete the run non-stop in winter and no women that we know of so it shows how potentially difficult it will be.”
However, Caroline doesn’t believe her run is as challenging as the daily difficulties faced by the girls in Ethiopia.
She says: “I recently visited some rural schools in the Wolaita region in southern Ethiopia. The girls I met there will often risk real danger to get an education. They really inspired me.
“Education is still seen in some parts of Africa as something for boys, rather than girls.
“And those girls who are lucky enough to attend secondary school often face very difficult journeys on foot every day just to get to classes.
“They risk sexual assault and harassment on a daily basis but are willing take that risk to get an education. They are the real heroes.”
Caroline finished the 2016 West Highland Way Race, which takes place each June, in 19 hours 34 minutes. She was fourth lady.
See Caroline’s Winter West Highland Way to sponsor her.