Fighting for animal liberation and an end to speciesism
Written by Leigh-Chantelle
Created Thursday, 31 May 2012
Fiona Oakes is a Vegan Marathon Runner from the UK who in 2012 finished the Marathon des Sables: 154 miles across the Sahara with 50°C temperatures. Fiona holds the course record for the Essex Country Marathon Championship since 2007. She is the only female runner to run under 3 hours on the course in its 17 year history. Fiona has come top 10 in several international marathons (Florence, Moscow & Amsterdam and Nottingham) and top 20 in London & Berlin. Fiona also cares for over 400 rescued animals at Tower Hill Stables Animal Sanctuary in Asheldham, UK where Fiona does all the work with her partner's help at the weekends.
What has benefited you the most from being a vegan?
Obviously, the health benefits of being vegan are written in stone but I honestly believe the most benefit to me being vegan is that I do not carry the burden of guilt that I would have to endure knowing that I abused others for my own 'benefit'.
What does veganism mean to you?
Veganism is everything to me. It touches every part of my life. It is my life. I could not begin to imagine living my life any other way. It's not just the diet, but the lifestyle and the life choices I have made through my veganism, such as starting the Tower Hill Stables Animal Sanctuary and my Marathon running.
What are you strengths as a vegan athlete?
My strengths as an athlete are that I am not an athlete for myself. I am doing it for the benefit of others, which makes me work much harder to achieve. I am not selfish enough to want something this badly for myself. It makes me push myself that bit harder knowing that by doing well I can possibly convince others to consider a vegan lifestyle. It does work too. Once, when I won a Marathon in a massive course record, the Mayoress who was presenting the prizes told me her daughter had wanted to go vegetarian but she was against it as she was not convinced it would be ideal for a young girl who was still growing. Seeing what I had just done on a vegan diet had convinced her that it was okay for her daughter, which was the biggest prize I could ever want!
What is your biggest challenge?
My biggest challenge is fitting everything I have to do into a day. I have the Tower Hill Stables Animal Sanctuary to look after with its 400 residents, my training and my work as a retained Fire Fighter.
Food & Supplements
What do you eat?
I don't actually have a set pattern of regular eating such as breakfast, lunch and dinner. Due to my lifestyle it is impossible as I never know what I am going to be doing or where I am going to be from one minute to the next. I only actually eat when I am hungry and when I do it tends to be nuts, fresh fruit, rice, pulses and bread. I do not spend too long analysing my diet. I know what works for me but that might not suit everyone.
I think people need to be less hung up about food, follow their own eating patterns and work out what their body needs rather than always being told what to eat by others. My biggest piece of advice is to know yourself and listen to your body. Ultimately, it will tell you all you need to know if you have the wisdom to listen.
Fiona promotes veganism through her daily life as a fire fighter, a marathon runner and by rescuing animals at her Tower Hill Stables Animal Sanctuary. Fiona encourages people to get involved the best they can to help hers and other animal sanctuaries continue to provide a safe and happy life for the animal inhabitants.
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