An adventurous equine vet from West Sussex completed 20 marathons in 2020, achieving a total of 73 26.2-mile runs since she took up the sport 10 years ago.

Judy Scrine, clinical director at Mayes & Scrine Equine Vets in Warnham, near Horsham, completed the marathons in support of Breast Cancer Now and has raised a total of £50,000 for good causes.

Despite covering 1,912.6 marathon miles, Judy could not run as a child, due to what she deemed “bad conformation”.

“I played a silly amount of squash especially at university and ended up suffering Achilles tendon injuries affecting both ankles, which looked like ending my sporting career,” she said.

“But then I found a podiatrist who put me back on track with the right orthotics, which are special shoe inserts. At last, I’d found something that enabled me to actually run. In horse terms, I am essentially remedially shod!”

After this, Judy sign up for the Moonwalk, a night-time walk of 26.2 miles in aid of a breast cancer charity.

She was pleased with how she coped with the marathon distance and decided to apply for the London Marathon.

Judy has since crossed the finish line of the capital’s race six times, but her love of running has also taken her all over the world, and she’s completed long-distance races on every continent.

Judy has even achieved 26.2 mile runs on Everest and at the North Pole and Antarctica, making her the first woman to complete the combination of the highest, northernmost and southernmost marathons.

2020 challenge

Last year, Judy set herself the goal of running 20 marathons in 2020, but had only run four when the country went into lockdown.

She then ran three virtual marathons, before suffering a serious ankle injury. Once it had healed, she was determined to squeeze in the other 13 marathon distances between October and 31 December.

“I’ve done so many marathons it’s very easy for me to work out a 26.2 mile route, and I planned and did those 13 runs around Sussex, Surrey and Kent,” she said.

“I was lucky that I had some time off work that I could use to meet my target, and I often ran two marathon distances in a weekend.”

Judy’s efforts to complete her 2020 aim coincided with a charity challenge by VetPartners and she was able to join colleagues at vet practices all over the country who were clocking up the miles by riding, walking, running and cycling in support of Pets As Therapy and Vetlife.

“I take on these wonderful challenges to make up for the fact that I’m not very good at running,” added Judy. “I’m not very fast, and my personal best time of 4.54 hours, which I achieved in Iceland, is embarrassingly bad.

“But I have loads of determination and stamina, and I can keep going whatever the conditions, whether that’s intense heat or deep snow.”

Judy recommends running as a way of staying positive.

“I’d really encourage people to run, although they don’t have to cover the distances I do!” she said. “I commend anyone who gets out there and runs any distance.

“It helps you stay fit and gets you out into the fresh air, which I feel is so important, especially when we’re all having to spend so much time indoors.

“When I finish a run it gives me the most incredible feeling, and I can’t help but feel motivated and happy, not to mention the fact that I’m a complete endorphin junkie.”