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Teacher braves New York for first marathon

Clare Pearson has been training hard for next weekend's New York marathon. Pic. Shetland News

A SANDWICK primary school teacher’s plans to run her first ever full marathon have been disrupted by Hurricane Sandy.

Clare Pearson had hoped to fly to New York on Tuesday to compete in the city’s long distance race, but has had to change her travel plans at short notice.

However the 31 year old still intends to be in the Big Apple in time for Sunday’s event.

Pearson, originally from Vidlin but now living in Lerwick, only took up road running as a serious sport in January this year after reaching her 30s.

Since then she has run three half marathons – one in Edinburgh and two in Shetland – and is confident than she will manage the New York marathon in less than five hours.

“I am a little bit nervous. Participating in the New York marathon is quite a daunting thought,” she said.

“I have done all the training, and I believe it is mainly a mental challenge. You can believe what the mind believes.

“What I love about running is that you can see the results of your work straight away. I never felt so good – I guess I got the running bug.”

There was never any doubt in her mind that should she ever run a marathon it would be in New York after falling in love with the city during several visits while she was a student.

Pearson will be one of around 40,000 runners on the 26.2 mile course through the city’s five boroughs of Staten Island, Brooklyn, Queens, the Bronx, and Manhattan.

Organisers have said that they don’t expect any changes to the programme, despite the frightening forecasts.

Pearson is running in the UNICEF team, saying she feels passionate about the work they do worldwide.

“I am running this marathon to fundraise for UNICEF’s programmes because I want to help UNICEF save more lives.

“Every day 21,000 children around the globe die from preventable causes, simply because they don’t have access to clean water, immunisations, proper nutrition or protection during emergencies.

“UNICEF and I believe that number should be zero.”

She thanked Sandwick primary school for allowing her to participate in the marathon during school term. She said the school had just become the first in Shetland to achieve the Rights Respecting School Award (RRSA), another UNICEF initiative.

So far she has raised $5,284.00, well above the target of $3,500 set by the organisation.

Donations can be made on the UNICEF website here.