Vegan Society Honorary Patron’s World Record Successes in World Vegan Month



IMMEDIATE: 25 November 2013


Amateur athlete and vegan Fiona Oakes, 42, from Asheldham in Essex, has successfully completed the challenge of a lifetime and has applied to the Guinness Book of Records to verify that she has broken two world records and has set the record for a third during her Seven Continents and Polar Ice Cap challenge.  Fiona completed her challenge in World Vegan Month which celebrates the founding of The Vegan Society in 1944.

Fiona, who takes part in marathons to raise funds for the 400 animals she personally cares for at her Tower Hill Stables and Animal Sanctuary and to demonstrate that she can complete these extreme challenges on a vegan diet, has broken the female elapsed time for completing the Seven Continents and Polar Ice Cap record which currently stands at 324 days by completing the challenge in 225 days.  Although it was the elapsed time record that Fiona was attempting to break she has also inadvertently broken the female Seven Continents aggregate time record which stands at 28hrs 43 minutes.  Fiona has completed marathons on all seven continents in 25 hours and 54 minutes.  Fiona will also be applying to the Guinness Book of Records to be considered for a new female record of aggregate time for Seven Continents and the Polar Ice Cap which Fiona managed in 31 hours and 12 minutes.

Fiona, a patron of the Captive Animal Protection Society (CAPS) and an Honorary Patron of The Vegan Society has competed in more than 30 marathons.  She won the masses race of the Great North Run in 2010 in an impressive time of one hour 20 minutes (the women’s world record is one hour five minutes) and she holds the course record for six marathons. In April 2012 she completed the gruelling Marathon de Sables, often described as ‘the toughest race on earth’, where she ran 154 miles across the Sahara Desert in Morocco, in temperatures of up to 130F, with all her supplies on her back!

What makes Fiona’s achievement even more impressive is that she has achieved such success despite the loss of her right kneecap to a degenerative disease as a teenager and severe damage to the other knee cap caused by year spent on crutches.  It is a testament to a certain sort of courage and determination that Fiona recovered and became a successful marathoner.  She admits her knees often leave her in terrible pain but says the animals keep her going: “I run to raise awareness of the sanctuary and to raise funds through sponsorship. Most of the animals here are old or have been abused — we take those no-one else wants.”
Speaking earlier this year before the Seven Continents plus polar ice cap challenge Fiona said “It is something only a handful of people have achieved and very few women.  I have complete, one hundred per cent faith that my diet will give me everything that my body needs to perform well. I certainly don’t look at meat eaters and think that I could perform any better if I ate meat. I’ve run over 30 marathons, and I always produce a good run, no matter what.”

Fiona has a punishing schedule in order to prepare for her extreme marathon challenges. She rises at 3.30am every day to feed and care for the 22 dogs, 53 horses, 82 pigs, 50 cats, 40 sheep, 20 goats, three cows and assorted chickens, geese, ducks and peacocks before pulling on her trainers at the end of her working day to train for the marathon.  She is tucked up in bed by 9.30pm and says that the Sanctuary takes every spare moment of her life and every spare penny: the Sanctuary needs at least £10,000 a month to pay for feed, bedding and veterinary bills.  As well as her work running the sanctuary Fiona is also a retained firefighter.

Fiona is currently in the camp in the Antarctic waiting for a blizzard to end so that she can start her journey home. Conditions are basic and it is very cold but she is in good spirits following the success of the challenge.

Fiona’s training schedule can be followed on her Facebook page It is still possible to show your appreciation for Fiona’s achievement and help her animal sanctuary by donating here:  All donations to an upper limit of £10,000 will be matched on a 2 for 1 basis by a generous donor, trebling their value


For more information please contact Sam Calvert, Media & PR Manager at The Vegan Society on / 01782 505430 / 07967 042050

Notes to editors

  • Fiona can be contacted in the Antarctic on her satellite telephone for press interviews.  Contact Sam Calvert on 0121 523 1730 (The Vegan Society) / 01782 505430 / 07967 042050.
  • The Vegan Society is a registered educational charity (no. 279228) that provides information and guidance on various aspects of veganism, including to new and potential vegans, caterers, healthcare professionals, educators and the media. Visit for more information.  More information on World Vegan Month can be found at