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9th October 2023

Charity runner Emma Challis (50) from Shepton Mallet has reached an extraordinary milestone after completing her 200th marathon from Salisbury to Winchester in aid of Cats Protection, a cause close to her heart.

What makes Emma’s achievements particularly impressive is how she’s had to overcome serious health problems – especially blood clots – along the way.

Emma began running long distance in 2013 to help her strengthen her muscles after recovering from two serious accidents; she damaged her spine in a car accident in 1997 and then fractured her pelvis after falling down the stairs in 2007.

Despite suffering with PTSD, which was exacerbated during the Covid lockdowns, she has since completed ultra marathons and full-distance triathlons and last year ran over 1,500 miles.

“I really enjoy my sports events and get such pleasure from doing them - I feel amazing before, during and after,” Emma says. “As it’s a social activity, I’ve made many super friends. I also feel very lucky and fortunate to be able to take part in these events considering the damage my body received from developing blood clots. Although the damage is permanent, I manage ok and benefit in many ways from doing so much exercise.”

In 2016, Emma was diagnosed with a long-standing blood clotting condition which had caused her pain for many years. At a hospital visit a few days after completing her 28th marathon she was told that she had multiple prominent clots in her lungs. 

She now has to take medication and wear support stockings to prevent the clots but refuses to let her condition hold her back. 

As a former vet nurse, Emma’s aim is not just to raise funds but mainly to raise awareness of Cats Protection to help the charity find homes for unwanted cats. 

She rehabilitates and fosters for Cats Protection’s Glastonbury & Wells branch and is currently looking after her 102nd cat - a black, affectionate boy called Kevin.

“I never thought I could achieve any of this because of my health problems but I refuse to let life get me down,” she says. “You don’t know what you can do till you try.”

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