'If I lose an ear to frostbite, it might as well be for a good cause'

October 04 2018
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A FISHPONDS woman is taking on a gruelling challenge to help raise funds to try and save a school from closure.

Kelly Sheldrick will run a marathon in temperatures as low -15C in Greenland later this month. It will be so cold that Kelly will have to wear a Darth Vader-style face mask to protect her from frostbite from the cold air she will be breathing in and also faces a risk of hypothermia.  

The Polar Circle Marathon takes place inside the Arctic Circle in Kangerlussuaq, Greenland on October 28. Part of the course runs over an ice sheet and the rest is on a road passing through snow and tundra.

Kelly ran the Bristol Half-Marathon September as part of her preparations but says that the hot weather during the summer has made it difficult to prepare for the temperatures she will run through in Greenland.

Kelly, who works for Bristol financial services company Hargreaves Lansdown, said: “I love challenging myself, and the Polar Marathon seemed like quite the challenge, especially as I hate the cold. 

“I have run a few marathons before but this run is going to be on a completely new level.

“I'm not even sure whether I'll be able to complete it, which I guess is the reason I want to run it. 

“I have ice crampons for my trainers, which I got to try out in the snow in March.

“I also have a facemask for the run, which will help with the cold air and frost bite, and makes me look a bit like Darth Vader.”

Kelly is running the race to support Ometepe Bilingual School in Nicaragua, which teaches children in Spanish and English to give them better opportunities.

The school, which Kelly visited during a cycling holiday, has been built using plastic bottles and other recycled waste to make ‘ecobricks’ and is funded by an eco-hotel. But a drop in the number of tourists to the area, after a series of riots in which hundreds of people were killed, mean that its income has all but dried up and it is struggling to survive.

Kelly said she hadn’t originally planned to raise money while running the marathon until she heard that the school was in trouble.

She said: "Hey, if I'm risking losing an ear or nose to frostbite, I may as well do it for a good cause!"

You can donate to Kelly’s fundraising campaign online at bit.ly/2OeIoBB.