A member of staff at The Royal Star & Garter Home in High Wycombe has joined an elite group of runners after completing the Tokyo Marathon.
Hospitality Services Manager Karen Sweeting was one of 38,000 runners taking part in the event in the Japanese capital on 3 March, finishing the 26.2-mile course in 4hrs 46mins.
And in doing so, she received the Six Star Finisher Medal, given to runners who have completed all six World Marathon Majors – London, New York, Chicago, Boston, Berlin and Tokyo.
It is regarded as one of the most exclusive race prizes in running with less than 5,000 amateur runners listed in the world as having completed the full set.
Karen, who lives in Chesham, Buckinghamshire, said:
“It was a wet and cold marathon and the second half was unpleasant as I pulled a muscle. But I got there in the end and I’m so proud to have accomplished this goal. It’s overwhelming.”
Her first marathon was London in 2002 and Karen has now run a total of 20 road marathons. Her best time is 3hrs 56mins in Amsterdam 2015.
She has also tested her endurance further by taking part in an off-road marathon and three ultra-marathons, which were also off-road and each a distance of around 33 miles.
“Running keeps me fit and healthy and helps me stay focused. There are so many times when I’m training or in a marathon and it’s tough and I wonder why I’m doing this to myself? But that makes it all the sweeter when I cross the finishing line – I always burst into tears.”
Karen says there are several qualities required in endurance running which she will bring to her position at The Royal Star & Garter Homes. She said: “You have to be determined to run marathons, you have to stick to your schedule and be passionate about it, and I think these qualities follow me into my life. I am certainly determined to succeed in this job. I take out all my frustrations when I’m running so I’m calm when at work. I’m single-minded and passionate about what I do.”
The Royal Star & Garter Home in High Wycombe will welcome its first residents in April this year and will be able to care for 74 ex-Servicemen and women and their partners living with disability or dementia. The Charity also has Homes in Solihull and Surbiton.
Later this year Karen will be raising money for The Star & Garter Homes when she takes part in the Royal Parks Half Marathon.
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About The Royal Star & Garter Homes
The Charity provides award-winning care for military veterans and their partners who live with disability or dementia.
The Royal Star & Garter Homes is a charity founded in 1916 to care for the severely injured men returning from the battlegrounds of the First World War.
Today our friendly, state-of-the-art Homes offer a pioneering approach to nursing, dementia and therapeutic care. We have award-winning Homes in Solihull, West Midlands and Surbiton, Surrey. Our third Home in High Wycombe, Buckinghamshire opens in spring 2019.
We continue to expand our services to reach even more veterans. In 2018, we were able to support 185 residents and over 60 guests at the Star & Garter Club, our day care service. We also offer interim care for young disabled Service personnel. We provided 11,700 individual sessions of physiotherapy and speech & language therapy last year to support our residents’ health, and over 5,600 places to residents for activities, outings and events, to promote well-being.
We are proud to have enjoyed Royal patronage since our foundation, including that of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II from 1953 to the present day.
The Royal Star & Garter Homes is a member of the National Care Forum – the leading voice for not-for-profit care providers. A national perspective may be available from firstname.lastname@example.org or by contacting 02476243619. More details on NCF available at www.nationalcareforum.org.uk.