A NOVICE runner who set her sights on the world’s highest marathon has now committed to running seven marathons on seven continents – in one year.

Laura Jones, from Shaftesbury, agreed to run the Everest Marathon, despite having no former running experience.

The 28-year-old who, before August 2016, had never run further than 5km, is now running distances of up to 20 miles each weekend, preparing to run a marathon on every continent, a feat which only six British women have completed.

Her challenge starts with the London Marathon in April, followed shortly after by the Everest Marathon. She will also run 26.2 miles in the hostile climates of freezing Antarctica and tropical Mt Kilimanjaro, as well as races in Banff (Canada), Patagonia (Chile), and Rottnest Island (Australia).

Laura said: “I love to set challenges for myself, even when I’m starting from scratch. When I started running a few months ago, I thought it would be impossible. But after just a few months of training, I’m finally starting to enjoy it.

“I can’t wait to actually get things started, although I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t a little bit nervous.”

She continued: “I think the biggest challenge is going to be getting used to the different climates on each continent, especially the Everest Marathon, which is the highest marathon in the world starting at Everest Basecamp, some 5,300m above sea level.

“The average finishing time is 10hrs, which shows how tough the trail is. Combined with freezing temperatures at the start line, it’s set to be a very adventurous run. Early next year I’ll be running in Antarctica and Tanzania, and with just two weeks between races I can expect a temperature variation of up to 50 degrees.”

But weather will not be the only challenge Laura could face. Joining instructions for the Banff Marathon note some unusual risks, stating: “You may encounter wild animals, including: grizzly and black bears, elk, moose, wolves, cougars, coyotes, wolverine and lynx.”

Alongside her personal goals, Laura will be taking this opportunity to raise money and awareness for two charities close to her heart – The Scouts and The Jonny Wilkinson Foundation.

She has even had personal support from Jonny Wilkinson himself, who, when he found out about her challenge said: “Running almost 200 miles in some very hostile environments is a massive challenge and a hugely powerful opportunity.

“Anyone running a marathon is inspiring and I've always admired the incredible team spirit which seems to arise when positive and motivated individuals get together to push themselves for the benefit of others and amazing causes. Thank you, Laura, go well and good luck on your awesome journey.”

For more information and to keep up to date with Laura’s journey visit: www.icanrun7.com.

Laura is currently seeking headline sponsors. If you would like to support her challenge then contact her at laura@monixadventures.com.