Fiona Oakes (in english)

Fiona Oakes

Fiona Oakes (Essex, UK)

Born: 1/08/69
Weight: 53
Height: 169
Runner from: 1998 (was cyclist before)
Vegan from: 1980

Personal bests:

800m, 2'24
1500m 4'37
5k 16'58
10k 35'11
10 miles 58'40
HM 1h18.21
Marathon 2h47

Fiona Animal Sanctuary
Fiona on

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Why did you start running?
I came from a cycling background and used to race on the track and road racing.  When we moved and bought the animal sanctuary and started to take
in many more animals I found I did not have enough time to spend the hours needed to train properly for cycle racing. I turned to running to keep fit..

Why did you become vegan?
I became vegan as a child, simply because I loved animals and did not wantto exploit them in any way.  I was vegetarian from the age of 5/6 and then
vegan at 11.  None of my family were vegetarians at the time, it was something I decided on personally.

Which is the best thing in running?
The freedom and challenge of running are definitely the best things. Being able to glide down the road using nothing else but your own power - that is

The worst one?
The many hours of training required for Marathon running.  I train 11 times a week - somedays twice a day and usually around 80 - 100 miles when I am
training for a Marathon..

Which is the best thing as vegan?
The best thing about being vegan is the healthy way you feel both inside and out.  You can live you life with a clear conscience at not exploiting another species simply to live..

The worst one?
There are no bad sides to being vegan - it is all good!

Witch is your best competition/challenge and why?
The Marathon is my best competition.  I don't have an awful lot of natural speed but I do have a lot of endurance - and determination!

How do you load before an hard training or race?
Porridge, pasta and vegetables such as beans.  I also drink lots of water. To be honest, I do not have very much money to buy food for myself as I have
to make sure the animals needs are met before my own..

What do you eat for breakfast?
I don't actually eat breakfast as I rarely get time as I am outside with the animals all morning and I get up at 3.30 a.m. which is a little too early
for breakfast..

Do you have a favourite recipe?
I like very plain foods.  Seasonal vegetables and potatoes.  I don't actually focus much of my life around food, I see it simply as a fuel to
enable me to do the things which are more important to me, such as running and saving animals..

Do you want add more?
I would like to say that my main goal in running Marathons is to show that veganism is not a prohibitive lifestyle to someone who wants to achieve
excellence in sport.  So many people think that you cannot be strong and healthy as a vegan and this simply isn't true.  Not only do I run Marathons
at an elite level, but I also care single-handedly for over 260 rescued animals and I have a very strenuous job - I am a fire-fighter.  All these
things are very physically demanding and I do it on a vegan diet and have always done so.  I just hope that this shows any doubters that it can be done..

Some Marathon Results:

5th place in Florence
17th place in Berlin
8th place in Amsterdam
1st place in Halstead (Essex County Champion Course Record held)
1st Place in Rovaniemi (Finland) - Course Record
10th place in Moscow
22nd place in London
1st place in Great North Run (Masses Race)
9th place in Amsterdam Marathon di 2005
5th place in Florence Marathon di 2004

All other races here

Some useful tips from Fiona (stolen from )
Good to know for people that want run Marathons (draw from veganfitness runners forum)
Hi there, I know that everyone is different and there are so many views and opinions on how you should train for a Marathon. I don't think there is any set formula for running a good race, I think it is a matter of listening to your body, learning how to understand what it is telling you and knowing how to act on the information. I just thought I would share with you what I do in the hopes it might help. I don't actually use any energy drinks, I think they are very expensive and very quickly learned to make my own using water, orange juice, glucose and salt. I know some people use the gels but I think they are quite sickly and hard to swallow when you are at that semi-dehydrated part of a Marathon. When preparing for a Marathon I do a 20+ mile run pretty much every week from the period of 11 weeks up to 3 weeks to go. I find I need to do a lot of mileage - my heaviest week in preparation for Amsterdam has been 104 miles. I don't carry water when I am running. I prefer to drink plenty before I leave and when I return. I also find that during the Marathon this gives me the extra confidence boost of knowing that I can easily run 20+ miles without taking on fluid so running 26 miles having the option of drinking regularly is not too bad. During a race I do drink at EVERY drinks station. I only take on water but I do drink LOTS of it during the race. Even when I feel that I don't need water I will drink as much as I can. I find this really pays off during the last few miles. I know this will not be everybody's 'cup of tea' so to speak, but I find it works for me. The other thing I find works is to really hammer myself up to the 3 week taper time - I train 7 days out of 8, 3 of those days I train twice, mixing the sessions between long runs and quality speed stuff. I find I operate best if I work as hard as I can up to the taper but when I get there really stick to it and don't become tempted to go out and do a 'few extra miles'. That way, on race days when your legs are fully rested you feel like you are floating round. Good luck. Fiona

about training for shorter distances.

Hi there, yes, the reason for my times getting quicker as the distance goes on is I have not done any proper timed shorter distances for a while - hopefully my times will have improved now as I am concentrating on my speed work much more. I am doing 4 hard speed sessions a week - either at the track or on the road - as well as the longer distance stuff. I am also training 7 days out of 8, twice a day for three of those days in the hopes of building my endurance. My speed work varies between 400m reps and 8 minute hard pushes. It is very hard though, I feel quite tired!

Do you want help Fiona?
Anyone can sponsor the animals for as little or as much as they like. You can do it by Secure Giving, Standing Order, Paypal (which is free) or just send a cheque to the Sanctuary. With over 260 rescued animals, including 26 horses and 5 cows, 50 cats, 28 pigs, 20 goats and many, many more animals to look after single-handedly things can get very tough and money is very short. It really doesn't matter if people can only afford small amounts. Many small amounts make a large amount, and every penny goes directly towards feeding the animals. It would be great to meet up in Amsterdam but I don't have my travel details yet. As soon as I do I will post them on the internet. All best wishes, Fiona.

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