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Marathon MS fundraisers

Frances Tait and Fiona Shearer are running the London Marathon to raise money for the MS Society.

TWO Shetland women are challenging themselves by running the London Marathon to raise money for the MS (Multiple Sclerosis) Society in honour of one of their sisters who lives with the condition.

Thirty nine year old Fiona Shearer, from Quarff, and Frances Tait, 36, from Lerwick, who have been friends for quarter of a century, are running the marathon on 24 April and hope to raise over £8,000.

Frances’ sister Louise, also 36, was diagnosed with relapsing remitting MS ten years ago.

She said the diagnosis had initially left the family shocked as they didn’t know much about the condition.

“Louise sees a specialist in Aberdeen quite regularly and fortunately her health hasn’t deteriorated very much in the past eight years,” Frances said.

“While her balance isn’t as good as it used to be, she’s always so positive and lives a healthy lifestyle.”

She and Fiona have done quite a few other races previously, and after receiving a charity place in the marathon thought it was the “perfect opportunity to raise funds for other families affected by MS”.

Over 100,000 people in the UK live with MS, an unpredictable condition where sufferers can be fine one day and then unable to walk the next. People typically start experiencing symptoms, which include fatigue, sight loss, incontinence and disability, in their 20s and 30s.

Fiona, who used to coach Louise in netball and hockey, said: “I was so happy for Frances when she received a charity place, as I knew it meant a lot to her family.  But when I found out I had been selected as well, I thought this is our opportunity to get together and really make an impact.”

The pair set off on a 16-week running plan in the teeth of the Shetland winter back in January.

“The worst bit is the wind, which blazes bitterly in your face no matter which way you turn,” Frances said. “Though there’s only been one time when we had to abandon our run.

“We had been running for six miles along a single lane road in a blizzard. We were supposed to run 18 miles but when we passed snow ploughs trying to clear the road, we knew it probably wasn’t safe to be out.”

Fiona added: “Every time we go for a run my husband looks at me like I’m crazy. But deep down he knows why we’re doing what we’re doing and he’s been really supportive. My only fear is that it may actually be too hot for us in London!”

  • You can sponsor Fiona and Frances through their Just Giving pages.