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The couple who caught the marathon bug

Karen and Maurice Fraser talking a break from preparing for the London marathon- Photo: hans J Marter/ShetNews

A COUPLE from Burra are getting ready to compete in this year’s London Marathon to raise funds for two charities and a local sports club.

Karen and Maurice Fraser, who regularly participate in marathons across Europe, hope their efforts will make a difference to the British Heart Foundation, the local CLAN group and Shetland Junior Amateur Athletics Club.

Both were infected by the running bug in spring 2006 and have since run together at the big city marathons in Dresden, Warsaw, Berlin and Amsterdam.

In two weeks they will set off alongside Britain’s double Olympic champion Mo Farah and the elite of marathon runners, including world champion Wilson Kipsang.

In 2012, more than 36,000 completed the 26.2-mile long London course at what was then the world’s largest marathon.

Both hope to complete the course in a time of around 3 hours and 30 minutes.

“Marathon running is really popular. You feel so good after you have done it; it is the sense of achievement that does it for me,” said Karen, who works for home care agency Crossroads.

“When you are actually running a marathon you always think ‘I am never doing this again’, but a few days later you are already looking forward to the next one.”

The couple have a very personal reason to raise funds for BHF and Clan.

Maurice’s father’s life was saved by a triple heart bypass operation, while Karen’s dad died suddenly from a heart attack.

“We therefore think it is important that the British Heart Foundation continues their research and making advancements in science and treatments,” said Maurice, who works on one of Lerwick harbour’s pilot boats.

“CLAN is very important to Shetland folk by providing a safe, comfortable place to stay for people undergoing cancer treatment, as well as their relatives.”

They have also chosen to raise funds for the local athletics club, which loses its funding from Shetland Islands Council from 1 April.

Mark Burns running the Kielder marathon.

Sponsor forms are now available in Halcrow’s shop, in Hamnavoe, Burra Motor Repairs, the Scalloway Meat Company and Market House reception, in Lerwick.

The couple can also be contacted via e-mail: westerlea1@gmail.com 

In May their daughter Karrie will follow in her parents’ footsteps when she joins them in running the Edinburgh half-marathon.

Meanwhile NHS Shetland was delighted to accept a ‘ditto’ device and software donated by marathon runner Mark Burns.

The electrical inspector who works for Petrofac at the new Shetland Gas Plant raised more than £1,500 running the Kielder marathon last autumn.

The ditto system consists of interactive games and information designed to distract and educate traumatised children, helping children when they are in hospital for an emergency or planned procedure.

Children’s nurse Sarah Logan said the machines were already making a difference for patients when they come into the hospital.