As far as Fiona Oakes is aware she was the first vegan woman to complete the notoriously extreme Marathon des Sables. Fiona owns her own animal sanctuary and is an ambassador for The Vegan Society and a patron of the Captive Animals Protection Society. We discussed how she achieves such amazing physical feats, but we started by asking about her nickname…
I'm sometimes referred to as the ‘Queen of the Extreme’. I wonder if that’s because of the somewhat creative and unusual way I’ve utilised my running career and the way my choice of events has developed organically and in conjunction with a desire to use it as a vehicle to promote what I believe in.
My initial goal was just to complete a marathon. After that came a focus on building an elite reputation within road running, whether it be placing as highly as I could in the world's major marathon events or winning and creating new course records in smaller races around the world.
I moved to the more exotic challenges when I’d achieved all I could on the road. I started running in places and terrains people would neither expect, nor even accept it was possible to run: the unrelenting heat of the Sahara Desert, the ice caps of the North Pole, the frozen tundra of Antarctica or the extreme altitude of the Volcanic Atacama to name but a few. All the while, I’ve been using my running as a positive showcase for a plant-based diet - whether it be hot, cold, fast or high from Marathon to ultra-stage and tarmac to tundra nothing was impossible - including winning!