A former bodybuilder who had not run further than 5km last year is taking on two marathons a day to travel across the UK in tribute to her mother and late brother.
Georgie McLean began her journey from John O’Groats in Scotland at 6am on Tuesday and aims to complete the 875-mile trip to Land’s End in Cornwall in just 16 days.
The 36-year-old had initially set out to raise money for the Orthostatic Tremor Foundation, after watching her mother lose the use of her legs as a result of orthostatic tremor disease – a form of Parkinson’s.
However in November 2020, during her training period, her brother Wayne suffered kidney failure and died suddenly following an infection, so she is now also fundraising for the renal ward at Royal Berkshire Hospital.
“My father died when I was 11 years old, my mum’s really been both parents and we’ve overcome quite a lot as a family – I lost my sister five years ago,” Ms McLean told the PA news agency.
“Wayne was such an integral part of the training, he thought I was absolutely bonkers.
“It’s been a little bit of a roller coaster losing Wayne in the middle of that.
“One of the things I’ve learned about running is there’s no way to escape… I’d find myself crying on runs.
“You just have to process your thoughts and feelings, pounding the streets, putting one foot in front of the other.”
The difficult journey she has faced hit a further setback three months ago, when she endured her first injury with a suspected foot fracture, but she has since recovered.
She hopes to raise £25,000 in tribute to her brother and mother and has raised more than £3,000 so far.
“It’s definitely been a challenging experience, overcoming grief and being a novice runner for starters… then overcoming the uncertainty of injury and just trying to arrange the whole operation during Covid,” Ms McLean added.
“I’m definitely running for both (my mother and brother), I think the last year’s made us realise that nothing is forever and to really value the time that you have with your loved ones.
“I certainly haven’t been through the worst, I’m sure there are other people that have been through a lot worse than me, but you just have to be really, really grateful, I think, and give gratitude.”
Asked how much it would mean to complete the challenge in 16 days, Ms McLean said: “It will be huge – huge. There’s no question that I’m not going to… if I’m crawling on all fours, we’ll get there.”
Ms McLean is being followed by a team in an RV donated to her by a friend, where she will sleep between the days of her challenge, and she will have two guides running with her at any one time to keep her safe.
“I’ve had a fantastic team around me, I’ve got doctors, sports specialists, that looked after people in the Olympics,” she said.
“I’ve just got to run thank god.”