An average day starts for me at around 3.30 a.m. when I awake and start feeding and caring for the animals in the house. Many are elderly and on medications which have to be administered and many need their food in small portions, little and often. I also start to tidy up the house as it can take quite a battering with so many animals residing with us.
At around 5 a.m. I start the work outside and this takes me until around 10.30 a.m.
There are an awful lot of large animals – horses and cattle – and each feed has to be administered separately, all the mucking out done, medications given, feet picked out, rugs taken off or changed (depending on the seasons) beds to be made up and many to be turned out from the stables into the fields.
After this I go to my other 2 yards and do pretty similar tasks on a slightly smaller scale. When I return home I prepare for my run either a speed session or a longer ‘on road’ run.
This usual finishes at 3 in the afternoon when I have to go outside and unwrap a car load of vegetables and bread donated by a supermarket local to Martin’s work (he has to collect it after work every day). This is at least an hour of work.
After this I start the evening jobs with the animals which takes around 3 hours. If I am training for a Marathon I might do a second run of the day a ‘recovery run’ of a few miles. Then off to the other 2 yards to check the horses there and home to bed – around 9 p.m when Martin arrives home.
This is every day, no matter what the day of the year, 7 days a week, 365 days a year.
The only time I am really away from the Sanctuary is when I am going to a race and then Martin takes his holiday to cover for me here.
When I was training for Marathon des Sables it was very tough as I found I needed to do a lot of long runs which I could not fit in during the winter months and the daylight hours were so short.
Instead, I bought a head torch and went out running at night from around 11 p.m. until 3 a.m.
That was incredibly tough to do but the only way I could find that sort of continuation in time for my training.
Fortunately, I am one of those people who needs little sleep!
Fiona has to fit all this in between caring for 400 rescued animals – www.towerhillstables.com and she has a knee replacement to cope with.
Fiona has been vegan for 40 years and with the current issues facing the UK regarding obesity and poor diet she shows what can be achieved through graft – rather than privilege or celebrity.
Her charitable foundation (www.fionaoakesfoundation.co.uk) has already had papers published by the UK Government as evidence in their Women in Sport inquiry.
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