Karen’s Malawi running trip with Dame Kelly

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A Burntisland woman is heading to Malawi to take on a sporting challenge with a difference.

Karen Young will be joining 24 other amateur runners for this year’s Orbis Challenge ‘Sport with a Purpose’ event.

The week’s trail running in Malawi is led by double Olympic gold medallist Dame Kelly Holmes and it aims to raise awareness for youth sport and infant malnutrition.

The trip is run by Orbis Expeditions, a small ethical company which promotes the development of sustainable educations, sport and business links between the UK and Malawi.

During the week-long challenge, Karen and the other runners will complete three main runs in the extreme heat, including a 25km trail run up Mount Mulanji, the highest mountain in Malawi, with over 1000m of elevation following the route of the Porter’s race, which involves rough, steep and challenging terrain.

She will also run a 20km route through the hills and tracks of the Zomba Forest Reserve and a 20km run along the shores of Lake Malawi.

And they will also take part in a Youth Sport event at a school, visit a rural youth project with a village 5km run and visit an Open Arms Malawi project.

The Glenrothes High School teacher, who has been a keen runner for the last 14 years, said: “My husband Douglas is vice chair of the Scotland Malawi Partnership and Malawi has a huge place in his heart.

“When I saw this trip I thought this is my chance to go out and experience Malawi and share the passion he has for the country.

“I love running and the challenge of running somewhere different with Dame Kelly Holmes was too good a chance to miss.

“I’m really excited about it. It will be a great challenge to run somewhere different.

“I think the heat will be a big challenge for me. It’s going to be in the 30s.

“The first run will be the hardest. It’s up Mount M – it’s a big climb in the heat.

“It’s got over 1000m of climb, which will be tough, but we’ve then got to be able to run the rest of the week as well.”

Karen has been working hard, training for the challenge.

She’s been training alongside friends from the Beacon Running Club in Burntisland and she’s already competed in numerous races this year in preparation, including the Stirling and Strathearn marathons, The Lairig Ghru ultra marathon, the Devil o’ the Highlands Ultra Marathon and the Kirkcaldy Parks Half Marathon.

But she’s also been busy fundraising for the charity, Open Arms Malawi, with great support from her family, friends and colleagues.

She added: “I have raised over £1700 for Open Arms Malawi, an oganisation which aims to provide a safe place for vulnerable infants to survive and thrive before returning to their wider families as healthy toddlers. The group has raised over £10,000 and this is still rising.”

To contribute to Karen’s fundraising total visit her Justgiving page