Born Free Foundation - Keep Wildlife in the Wild

Sarah Locke - star fundraiser interview

Sarah Locke

Superstar Sarah Locke is taking her training for next April’s London marathon very seriously. Assistant to Born Free’s President Will Travers, Sarah will first tackle Africa’s tallest mountain, climbing the mighty Kilimanjaro in February.

Sarah it’s great to have you as part of our team, but why did you want to undertake two such epic challenges for Born Free?  

I had been at Born Free for about three months when the challenge of Kilimanjaro came up and as a once in a lifetime of opportunity, I obviously had to jump at the chance! As for the London Marathon, it's always been something I wanted to do and running it for the charity I work for seemed the perfect excuse. I may of course regret saying that when April comes around and the nerves really kick in.

Have you climbed a mountain before?

I’ve always loved hiking so I’ve done quite a few mountains especially within the UK. I often spend weekends away, particularly in Wales, in the Brecon Beacons or the Black Mountains. The Lake and Peak Districts are also really beautiful so I try and visit for some fresh air as much as possible.  I have actually hiked the UK’s three highest mountains too; Snowdon, Sca Fell Pike and Ben Nevis - not that they’ll be anything on Kilimanjaro of course!

Mount Kili will have real weather extremes, what do you plan to wear

I’ve been doing a bit of research online and everywhere says much the same thing: try to plan for every eventuality and be sure to bring lots and lots of layers. Will has also recommended heaps of factor 50 sunscreen. It’s often something people forget and I think he learnt that the hard way when he did it a few years ago!

How about the marathon - are you a keen runner?

I have run a few half marathons such as Brighton, Conwy and the Great North. But nothing further than 15 miles so I’m preparing for a real shock. I do enjoy running once I’m out there but a full marathon will take some serious training. Plus running without the companion of my springer spaniel, Bilbo, is something I'll have to adjust to!

How is your training going?

I'm struggling a little with the shortness of the days; the darkness in the morning and evenings is a real turn off. I can deal with the cold but it's so difficult to motivate yourself to go for a run if the sun isn't even up yet. Even in the evenings I drive home in the dark so I've had to start going to the gym after work to make up for it. At the weekends though I’ve been managing to do some longer runs so all’s not lost.

Are you eating special foods?

Nothing as of yet to be honest. I’m generally quite healthy, but as time gets nearer I’m definitely going to have to tighten up on my diet. Christmas and New Year will be a struggle I’m sure!

How nervous do you feel?

I'm currently more excited about both  challenges than nervous. After Christmas though I'm sure it'll creep up and suddenly I'll wonder where my training time has gone.

Are you raising funds for any particular Born Free project?

The funds will go to two of our partner projects. The first is SeaSense in Tanzania. It protects local endangered marine turtles when they hatch from their nests and have to make the dangerous journey to the sea. Without the charity, the majority of baby turtles would not make it to the sea. 

The second half of the funds will go to a community-based programme in Kenya. Here, we support infrastructure improvements, help schools develop, provide educational resources, and tackle issues such as lack of renewable energy and clean water. Engaging communities with the local wildlife is so important for the future of conservation so it’s a really worthwhile project. 

Good luck Sarah, will we be able to follow your progress?

I'm going to start updating my fundraising page with info on my progress. Then, when I'm actually doing Kilimanjaro, Sam our social media guru, is talking about putting a tracker on me so you can see exactly where I am - I'm hoping that will put my mum's mind sufficiently at ease!

You can sponsor Sarah here -

Sarah is part of the Born Free Team which also includes Anya Ormrod Davis, who's Grandfather, Stefan, was a consultant for Born Free -


Born Free Foundation
Broadlands Business Campus, Langhurstwood Road
, Horsham, RH12 4QP, UK - Charity Reg. No. 1070906

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