Interview with runner Vanessa Buckle (10 marathons in 10 days)

I met Vanessa via her twitter account

I was instantly drawn to her because we have both suffered the loss of a parent. Also due to the daunting challenge she has set herself in 2011, to run 10 marathons in 10 days. I will leave it for Vanessa to explain.


Name – Vanessa Buckle


Age – 42


Hometown – Pickering, North Yorkshire, famous for the Steam Train from Harry Potter


Brief Bio – Born and bred a Yorkshire Lass, lived in and around York for most of my childhood. An only child until the age of 7 by which time my mum had remarried and I now have a brother who is 7 years younger than me.  I moved to London in my late teens to work and ended up staying there for 10 years before moving to Chester to work for a company that was to become As with many ironies, just as my career was at a peak my family life took a turn for the worst I lost my Aunt to lung cancer and my Uncle to Meningitis both within 6 months of each other and at the same time my mum was diagnosed with Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma, she started treatment immediately but sadly she had a bad reaction to the chemotherapy and she died less than 6 months later. Therefore within the space of 12 months I lost all my older relatives and that was a real wake up call for me that life needed to be lived.   


How long have you been running for?


I have exercised on and off for most of my life which has consisted of running and cycling, but nothing further than 10k (6 miles)  however following the death of my mum I wanted to try and make something positive come out of her death, and so I entered the London Marathon, I found solace and peace when out running and took comfort from the support (and donations)  from family, friends, and colleagues, on a personal basis it helped wrong the right of her death, which I felt (and still believe) was too early and certainly pointless…. At some point, during this period and I don’t know when, I realised that running managed to fill the complete void and emptiness that the loss of loss of my mum left, and that by me just putting one foot in front of another for however long it may be, I could make some small difference to others through her memory. 


We first met via Twitter, I was instantly drawn to you due to the challenge you have set yourself. Can you tell everyone a little about that please?


I have decided to attempt to run 10 marathons in 10 days (262 Miles) all situated around Lake Windermere, I start my challenge in May in order to raise money for Brathay Trust, a charity that helps children that who have suffered physical and mental abuse, Brathay sets up projects in the local community in order to provide role models, support and structure to childrens lives.  I chose this charity because even as an adult when I lost my mum (role model) I felt bereft, isolated and if I felt like that as an adult, how much more difficult would it be for a child let alone a child that has been though such difficulties.  


10 Marathons in 10 days! Why do you think people set themselves such mammoth goals?


I cant answer for anyone else, but for me, it is twofold and one leads into the other, firstly,  I have a drive to continue to push myself and test what my physical limits actually are, and once I think I am as far as I can go to then try and push past them. The honest truth is I am not a great runner, the reason I do this and continue to train hard is from a real inner desire to make a difference to others lives. No matter how tough the run is, no matter how hard it gets, there is always someone out there that is worse off than you, and therefore is it too much to ask to carry on and just keep putting one foot in front of the other? I really don’t think I would have the inner strength to take on a challenge of this magnitude without supporting a cause


How are you feeling about it?


Scared, nervous, excited…. Ultimately I am doing this to raise money, in memory of my mum, my biggest fear is centred around this, firstly not raising “enough” and secondly something happening during the event, or getting injured which would mean I couldn’t complete the task. However I am amazed at how quickly the body adapts and changes shape as you start to ask more and more from it and so far it hasn’t let me down.


What has your training been like?


The training schedule is tough and only going to get tougher, I am training for 10 days in a row and I am currently running 12 miles a day and hoping to get up to 20 miles a day by March/April.  The biggest problem I have, and people laugh at me is eating enough, I now need around 4,000 calories a day that is nearly twice the average for a woman of my age and build.


People often complain that they don’t have enough time to exercise. How do you manage to fit all that training in around your normal day?


I guess it is all about priorities and making time, I’m already sick of saying “after the 10 in 10 we can do that”, never mind what my family and friends think and to realise that the training is only going to get tougher.. However in my mind the success of this task will be centred around the preparation and that is one thing that I do have control over, so it is my first priority and people who know me realise how focussed and goal oriented I am and are very supportive.  


As you are going to be going through the mill in your challenge surely there must be a way people can donate to your cause? Can you tell us a little about that please?


I will gladly take any and all donations no matter how large or small, I have a just giving page and the web address is and this is probably the easiest. 

Is it mainly running your into or are there others you have pursued or wish to?


I am interested in all sport and one of the things that focussing on this task means is that I am unable to pursue other activities and I am looking forward to getting back to other sports and activities.  I have just started skiing but wont be venturing on the slopes this year in case I break anything, it is just too risky (one of the many things that will be done after the 10 in 10).


What is your favourite running memory?


My favourite memory was at the start line of London Marathon, it was truly unique as I have never ever, experienced an event, be it in business or personally where every person around you (and there are thousands) not only wants you to succeed, but is genuinely willing and cheering you to finish, it really was a truly memorable moment.


Any heroes? Sporting or Non?


For perseverance – Lance Armstong, his quote “Pain is temporary. It may last a minute, or an hour, or a day, or a year, but eventually it will subside and something else will take its place. If I quit, however, it lasts forever”. Keeps me going when things get tough.


For humanity and dignity Nelson Mandela and his quote “After climbing a great hill, one only finds that there are many more hills to climb”. Is quite apt


But for being the most gentle man I have ever had the privilege of knowing I have to say my grandfather.  And when the going gets real tough and I ache all over, or when I have been a real carbo-deplete cow  I rely on his quote, “I’ll rub you out and draw you back in again..”  


Do you have a dream race that you would like to take part in?

I am really tempted by extremes in temperature, namely because I don’t like them!! So either the North Pole Marathon or the Marathon des Sables both appeal for the same reason…. But ask me again in June of this year!!!   

To sponsor Vanessa visit her just giving page –

Or to speak with Vannessa or follow her progress see her Twitter – 




About Mark Cooper

My name is Mark Cooper, I am an ultra runner, motivational speaker, expedition consultant and public relations rookie. I help people achieve greatness in their lives. For bookings or more information you can email
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