Previously a 400m track champion at Crystal Palace, Edinburgh-based scientist, Sally, now spends her free-time on artistic pursuits, throwing herself into many sports and down mountains on skis. She's been to every Challenge week and tells us what brings her back (inspite of the lively cows on the Round Durness Run!)
Tell us a bit about yourself
I live in Edinburgh with Ian (Jackson) - we moved here 30 years this October which seems unbelievable! I am originally from London which is where I was working when I met Ian back in the early 80s. I am a geneticist and molecular biologist and I now work for Edinburgh University. Outside work I indulge my artistic side with felt-making and silver jewelry-making, along with some photography. I am part of a group called Frayed Edges and we have had a number of textile-based exhibitions. I also enjoy skiing, cycling, yoga, playing tennis (badly) and running of course!
Tell us a bit about your running history. What kind of running do you enjoy most?
Running is something I have always done. When I was at school I ran the 400m and 800m, the pinnacle was winning the London Schoolgirls senior 400m race at Crystal Palace, I was in the outside lane and expected the other competitors to come hurtling past me but none did, much to mine - and my games mistress's - surprise. After school I didn't run too much until the early 80s when I worked at the Chester Beatty labs in the Fulham Road and the jogging boom happened and a few of us starting going for lunchtime runs in Hyde and Battersea Parks. This lead to running a couple of half-marathons. After that running was a bit of habit. In the past 10 years or so I've done a marathon a year, usually Cape Wrath. I particularly enjoy running that takes you out into the countryside or byways and along the coast - just pavement pounding is not for me.
How many times have you been to Cape Wrath Challenge?
I've been to all of them (14)! Not always for the full week, we usually pitch up for the Around Durness run which is one of my favourites.
How did you first hear about CWC and what made you come to the event for the first time?
Not sure how we heard about it. The idea of coming to the far North of Scotland to run in the fabulous landscape up there appealed.
What makes the event special to you? What makes you come back?
Where to start? The beauty of the place, the friendliness of the people of Durness, the friends that we have made over the years, all mean that it is a fixture on our calendar every year. And the amazing spread at the ceilidh of course!
What is your favourite race or run at Durness?
I like the Around Durness Run for the views and the terrain - but not for running through fields of cows! The marathon is a close second - but my enjoyment of that is too much dependent on how I am feeling and hard the wind is blowing!
What is your favourite part of the week, or favourite thing to do in the area?
Just spending time on the spectacular beaches and looking out to sea.
What are you most looking forward to when you return?
This year I just doing the first part of the marathon and will stop at the Lighthouse. So I am looking forward to running on the Cape and spending a bit of time at the Lighthouse.
Describe Cape Wrath Challenge in three words
Unmissable, friendly, special
Tell us about your all-time favourite run (that's not in Durness!)
A run round Arthur's Seat in the sun, early on a winter's morning, with snow on the ground and no-one else around.