By RYAN TAYLOR
She hurt her knee part way through and had to walk for four miles before gaining her strength back, but Lerwick woman Denise McDougall was still “on a high” after successfully completing the Edinburgh Marathon at the weekend.
The 32-year-old raised over £1,200 for Macmillan Cancer Support when she overcame pain and heat to finish her first marathon in five hours and 15 minutes.
Despite the hardship, she said she was delighted to have taken part, and was determined to compete in other marathons in the future.
“It was very hot, I was absolutely shattered, but I was completely on a high when I finished. I couldn’t get the smile off my face. I really enjoyed it,” she said.
Competing alongside Denise was her sister Mae Lynne Downie and her husband Alan, while her 10-year-old son Jae cheered on from the sidelines.
She decided to run for Macmillan after people in her family had suffered from cancer.
“That was the first time I’ve run a marathon, but it won’t be the last – I’m fairly hooked. I can’t understand why I didn’t do it earlier. I did a 10K in the past, and said I would definitely do a marathon.”
Denise put in an intense three month training programme in order to make sure she was fit enough for the challenge that lay ahead.
She said she had sacrificed a lot of time with Jae to get ready for the big day on Sunday.
“The training really was quite a commitment. My son could have done with me being around more of the time. “I changed training plans three times. We got emails from Edinburgh Marathon giving us training advice.
“I didn’t appreciate how much training was involved, but now that I’ve done it I’ll definitely do it again.”
Denise also thanked her employer at Grieg Seafood Hjaltland, which paid for her overnight accommodation and flights, as well as all her sponsors.
“Without them I might not have carried on,” she said.
Anyone who would still like to sponsor Denise can do so by logging on to www.justgiving.com/denisemacdougall.
“One of the loveliest parts of the whole thing and doing it for charity was being welcomed back in the charity village, where the Macmillan support were waiting stocked up with refreshments and congratulations,” she said.
“We received messages from sports therapists who had also volunteered on the day. We also had a cold pint, and as the day had been so hot, it went down well!”
Former Shetland woman Diane Sellens also competed in the event.
The 28-year-old social worker from Aberdeen turned in a time of four hours and 13 minutes.
She also raised £1,200, this time for Breast Cancer Care.
“I’ve always been interested in running and keeping fit. I’m going travelling in a week and I thought it would be good to do one before I left,” she said.
Diane chose Breast Cancer Care after her partner’s mother was diagnosed with the condition at Christmas 2007.
“I was very tired. It was a very hot day on Sunday. I wasn’t sure what time I would do it in, but I finished in just over four hours so that was quite good. I am relieved to have completed it.”
However Diane’s run had its fair share of physical challenges as well. She completed 20 miles in three hours, before stopping for a break, but had to call on support from her partner, Mark, after her legs “stopped working” as she prepared to start the race again.
But while it may have been her first marathon, Diane has not been put off the idea of donning her running shoes once again.
Those travel plans she mentioned are to Melbourne in Australia, and she is already considering the possibilities that might lie ahead when she gets there.
“The Melbourne marathon is in April next year, so you never know …” she said.
Meanwhile, Magnus Moncrieff, from Stornoway, raised £700 for the CLAN appeal when he competed in the event.
Another first time marathon runner, Mr Moncrieff, whose family are from Shetland, finished the run in four hours and 58 minutes.
Working as an active schools co-ordinator at a sports centre in Lewis, he was able to keep relatively fit as part of his job.
“I had to slow down a bit to pace myself. There were a lot of people feeling the effects, but I was glad to have finished it,” he said.
“I would like to thank all those that kindly sponsored me and supported me throughout my training and on the day.”