Fiona Oakes

Fiona Oakes runs Tower Hill Stables Animal Sanctuary in Essex, which provides care and a home for life to over 500 rescued animals.  

Fiona began running to promote veganism and despite being advised she would never walk properly, let alone run, after multiple orthopaedic surgeries in her teenage years she holds four Guinness World Records in running events and has broken five marathon course records – and still holds four to this day.

"My vegan journey began as a small child 5 decades ago and was borne from a simple love and empathy for all creatures. The most obvious thing for me, at that time, was to not harm animals, and the easiest and most straightforward way of doing that was to not consume them or be party to any industry which exploited or abused them. I wasn't even familiar with the word vegan back in the 1970s. It was the concept which drew me, so my vegan journey has always been a reaction against something I disagree with rather than a contrived decision.  It wasn't easy on many levels, but when something is in your very being, you don't need any external interventions to validate who you really are and what you truly believe to be right.

"Veganism has supported me through all aspects of my life both mentally, spiritually and physically.  I am extremely fortunate that I have no known health issues at all, which is what allows me to continue my hectic and demanding lifestyle and running commitments to the highest level possible. I run over 100 miles a week in order to compete in some of the toughest foot races in the world. I currently hold four Guinness World Records, am the fastest person to complete a marathon on every continent and the North Pole, have won marathons on every continent. I am an elite marathon and ultra marathon runner, and have represented England in shorter distance races.  I also have many completions of the notorious Marathon des Sables to my name – a race which is brutal both mentally and physically and one which I am hoping to complete again this year.

"Controversial as it will seem, I adhere to what is now termed 'intermittent fasting', or even what some of the Kenyan coaches and athletes at races call the Warrior Diet!  I only eat one meal a day and have done so for practically all my adult life.  I do not crave snacks and don't buy the processed vegan 'alternative' and 'substitute' meat and dairy products.  For no other reason than I have never had meat and dairy so I don't feel the need to replace them in my diet.  I much prefer a basic, wholefood, balanced, locally sourced and seasonal approach to eating. Even when running I don't use the gels and protein powders often advocated for by many athletes. 

"I like to keep things as basic and natural as possible, in my diet and in my life in general. I sit down to eat when my work is done at the end of the day. I feel blessed that the meal is prepared and shared with loved ones, with no fear of imminent food poverty and the many other terrors many around the world face in these uncertain times. 

"Everyone's vegan journey is unique and personal to them.  It's never too late to embark on this life enhancing adventure, the rewards of which are too numerous to mention. The only regret I have ever really heard a vegan person utter is that they didn't set out on the journey earlier!" 

Fiona’s book 'Running for Good: the Fiona Oakes Story' was published in 2020, with proceeds going to Tower Hill Stables Animal Sanctuary. 

Fiona is a patron of Freedom for Animals and an honorary patron of The Vegan Society. She also co-founded Vegan Runners in 2004, with the specific aim of showcasing the positive benefits of veganism through sport.  

Facebook - @towerhillstables and @fionaoakes 

Instagram - @towerhillstables and @oakes.fiona