Army veteran named Orange dressing up as a lemon to run Everest Marathon

An army veteran who has run a marathon on every continent dressed as a fruit or vegetable is preparing to run the world’s highest marathon dressed as a lemon.

Sally Orange, 50, is taking on the international high altitude sports event, the Everest Marathon, on May 29.

Explaining her costume, the former army physiotherapist from Salisbury, Wiltshire, told the PA news agency: “At the start of the race it’s going to be really icy and snowy, so I thought I’d be ice and a slice with the lemon.”

Ms Orange runs as pieces of fruit because her surname is Orange but said her outfits also help start conversations and break the stigma surrounding mental health.

Sally Orange is taking on the international high altitude sports event on May 29 (Sally Orange/PA)
Sally Orange is taking on the international high altitude sports event on May 29 (Sally Orange/PA)

She wants to “literally shout from the top of the world about the importance of looking after your mental health,” she said.

Ms Orange holds multiple Guinness world records, has run more than 80 marathons, completed eight full Ironman triathlons, and was made an MBE for her efforts in 2023.

The marathon starts at Mount Everest base camp and Ms Orange anticipates it will be challenging.

“I’ve never had a marathon where getting to the start line takes so much,” she said.

“But everybody looks out for each other, ultimately, we’re all in it together.”

The biggest challenge she anticipates for the race is the altitude.

“I will be concentrating on my breathing and will put some of the therapy I’ve learnt in the past in place,” she said.

“Just like mental health, it’s like letting yourself breathe, settle and then starting again.”

Ms Orange has previously been to Everest base camp while serving in the army.

She said: “I’ve got an understanding of actually doing the trek into base camp and how long it takes to actually get there, but that was about 14 years ago, so I was quite a bit younger.”

Sally runs as pieces of fruit as her surname is Orange (Sally Orange/PA)
Sally runs as pieces of fruit as her surname is Orange (Sally Orange/PA)

She is fundraising for the Samaritans and the Duke of Edinburgh Awards scheme.

The runner and mental health campaigner uses her challenges to raise awareness of the importance of mental health support.

Ms Orange said: “I’ve suffered really quite severely with my mental health, with depression and anxiety, and it got to the point where I wanted to take my life.

“I just felt like the biggest burden and couldn’t see a place in the world for me.

“I don’t want anyone else to ever get to that point, which is the reason for me wanting to make sure that other people get help sooner than I did.

“Managing your mental health or taking on a challenge is recognising that it doesn’t happen overnight. It’s setting a goal and then breaking that goal down into much smaller steps.

“It doesn’t have to be Everest, for some people that would be the worst, but it’s finding out what their Everest is.”

She hopes to encourage people to take on new challenges and not be afraid of finishing last.

“I’m definitely one of the slowest in our group going up,” she said.

“A lot of people say that their biggest fear in taking on a challenge is coming last but when I speak to children in schools, I say if you come last, you get the biggest cheer.”