Dick Vet alumna runs 38 marathons in 38 days
Staff and students join health coach on her epic challenge to promote mental health
Staff and students from the Dick vet gathered to join a Dick Vet alumna who is running a marathon a day from 1 September to 8 October to help promote the importance of mental well-being in the veterinary profession.
Alice Sheldon, who graduated from R(D)SVS in 2003, has embarked on this goal as part of the Not One More Vet (NOMV) Race around the World 2023 challenge, which aims to support wellness among vets.
A party in trainers
On Sunday 17 September, Mrs Sheldon returned to her alma mater to run her 17th marathon in the series on the tracks and paths around Easter Bush Campus. Over 20 staff and students, as well as the School’s own elite ultra- runner Jasmin Paris, joined Mrs Sheldon on her run. With runners or all ages and abilities, Ms Sheldon said the fun, welcoming and relaxed atmosphere felt like ‘a party in trainers’.
The group began by completing a 5km or 10km run around the East Bush Campus’s Trim Trail before Mrs Sheldon, accompanied by her husband Mike Sheldon, friend Andy Upsall and R(D)SVS vets Jasmin Paris and John Ryan, ran a further 32 km to complete a full 42km (26.2 mile) marathon.
Another Dick Vet graduate, Gillian Palmer, supported the marathon team and supplied them with drinks and snacks along the route. Ms Palmer also managed to run 18 miles with them, along with her dog Pookie the lurcher.
The route looped back to Easter Bush campus and the group crossed the finish line outside the Vet School in 4 hours 39 minutes.
The Race around the World is an annual fundraiser to support and raise awareness of the charity NOMV. It highlights the importance of movement for wellbeing and encourages people to track the kilometres they run, walk or cycle over 38 days. Mrs Sheldon has pledged to run a marathon every day for 38 days.
Joined by friends, family and people she meets along the way, Mrs Sheldon is sharing her experience on her social media platforms as well as posting daily messages, in the hope that she can inspire others to prioritise movement for the good of their mental health.
Following graduation, Mrs Sheldon practised as an equine vet for 17 years before being diagnosed with Meniere’s disease. The intensity of the disorder meant that she had to retire from practice in 2019.
She retrained as a health coach and now specialises with coaching veterinary professionals. Mrs Sheldon has completed several ultra-marathons around Europe in recent years, and hopes to raise £2,000 for NOMV in this latest challenge.
It was such a magical day being back at R(D)SVS where I was reminded of how warm and supportive the Dick Vet community is. It was also an honour to run with the legend that is Jasmin Paris, whom I find incredibly inspiring. I hope by doing this challenge I can help highlight how important it is for vets and vet students to develop effective mechanisms to help them cope with the stress of their chosen careers. It doesn’t have to be marathon running; having a hobby you enjoy or regular catch-ups with friends or family can help you press the reset button. Also, help is out there – don’t be afraid to reach out if you are struggling.
It was fantastic to be able to join Alice for one of her marathons, and a lot of fun, especially running with so many colleagues in the earlier stages. I'm in awe of the challenge Alice has set herself, and I think it's great that she is raising awareness of the benefits of exercise and movement for mental health. Thanks to her for inviting me along!
The School was delighted that Alice came back to her alma mater for day 17 of her challenge. It was great to see so many staff and students get involved and join Alice for the event which raised the profile of mental health and wellbeing amongst our community. The School is committed to the health and wellbeing of its staff and students and would welcome any ideas or suggestions for further activities via our mental health and wellbeing committee or through our Student Advisers. Well done Alice and team Dick Vet, an enjoyable and worthwhile day for all.
About the Royal (Dick) School of Veterinary Studies
The Royal (Dick) School of Veterinary Studies is a one-of-a-kind centre of excellence in clinical activity, teaching and research. Our purpose-built campus, set against the backdrop of the beautiful Pentland Hills Regional Park, is home to more than 800 staff and almost 1400 students, all of whom contribute to our exceptional community ethos.
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We represent the largest concentration of animal science-related expertise in Europe, impacting local, regional, national and international communities in terms of economic growth, the provision of clinical services and the advancement of scientific knowledge.