Marathon effort for Fiona during eventful weekend

Fiona Kirkaldy

Marathon effort for Fiona during eventful weekend

A Work Based Assessor who started a gym training programme at a Forth Valley College gym, has won trophies for completing three challenging night runs – including a marathon and a half marathon - over one weekend.

Fiona Kirkaldy (58) from Brightons in Falkirk, was one of only 54 people out of around 600 runners who completed the three distances, and – remarkably - has also managed to do this after battling back to fitness from a stroke she suffered in March 2017!

She won the trophies – including first in female in the F50 age category and first female in both the triple (combined total time for all three runs) and the double (the combined time for the ‘full’ and ‘half’ marathons) - after taking part in the SCOTT Dark Skies Run @ Kielder during the weekend of 22-24 March.

This event was a series of three runs organised by Trail Outlaws around Kielder Water, a large reservoir in Northumberland, situated in the Northumberland National Park, just over the English border.

Fiona, who mainly assesses process technicians taking them through their SVQs, said: “I will be 59 at the beginning of July and have been running for three years. I started running to give moral support to my Durham based sister on 12 March 2016 - the first anniversary of our mother's death from Alzheimer's Disease.  I run solely because I enjoy it and I find that it helps me feel good, both mentally and physically.  The journey hasn't always been smooth though - I suffered a stroke on 3 March 2017. I was lucky ... the only lasting effect has been poor balance and a slight weakness on my left side.”

Fiona completed the Dark Skies Run @ Kielder 10  (actually about 10.7 miles), the 26.5 and the 14 (actually about 14.7 miles) runs to claim her trophies.

She went on: “There used to be only two runs but the ‘10’ was added this year. Runners can choose to run any, or even all of them - I chose to run them all. The runs took place over three nights last weekend 22-24th March with the ‘10’ on the Friday, the ‘26.5’ on the Saturday and the ‘14’ on the Sunday. The start times are designed so that the vast majority of the running takes place in the dark.

“I came 10th overall in both the double and the triple and was the first female - and 1st in the F50 age category - in both. I took part in the weekend as I adore Kielder - I actually took part last year and loved it - and thought ‘what could be better than spending a weekend running there?’  I was not wrong! 

“The weekend was a truly wonderful experience, brilliant organisation, fantastic routes and amazing runners - I'm in awe of every single one of them - and excellent marshals, I really would have been happy to come away with nothing!

“My next challenge, and the real reason I ventured into the gym to see Wai last September, was that another of my favourite locations is Holy Island. I'm aiming to run – though there will undoubtedly be a lot of walking too - the 100km St Cuthbert's Way from the Holy Island to Melrose on 29 June this year. 

“The route is very hilly and challenging and the ‘run’ needs to be completed in under 19.5 hours.  I don't know whether I'm up to this challenge but I'm determined to give it my best shot.  I knew that to even attempt this feat I would need to incorporate resistance work into my training. Wai has been absolutely wonderful and I sincerely believe I could not have completed the weekend's running without his help and encouragement - let alone brought home trophies!”

Wai Mun Lee Leisure Facilities Co-ordinator, said: "Amazing achievement from Fiona, great determination and commitment and glad the introduction to resistance training and her eagerness to participate in all our other fitness classes has paid off.

“It shows you that it's never too late to incorporate any form of resistance training in your training regime. I am glad everything has worked out and it’s a joy working with Fiona in the gym where she's taking advantage of what our gyms and gym team can offer.  She's not just a great role model for women, but for men as well."

The photos shows Tim Bateson of Trail Outlaws presenting Fiona with her trophies.



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