Teacher Polly Sinnett-Jones has raised more than £12,000 for Southampton Young Carers in 13 gruelling challenges

Daily Echo: 'I hated running...until I ran 150 miles across a desert' 'I hated running...until I ran 150 miles across a desert'

SHE is the school teacher who said life is too short to sit still as she embarked on a daring fundraising mission.

But now Polly Sinnett-Jones is looking forward to finally putting her feet up for Christmas after ending 2013 on a high by completing 13 gruelling challenges for the city’s army of young carers.

This time last year Polly hated running and had no regular exercise regime.

But on New Year’s Eve 2013 her mission Challenge 13 was born to raise vital cash for the Southampton Young Carers Project.

Now from running 50 miles a day in ultra marathons and paddling a kayak in a race enduring sub zero temperatures to running 150 miles around the clock across a South African desert for the Kalahari Augrabies Extreme Marathon, Polly, who organises summer camps for young carers, has pushed her body to the limits and with the help of friends has raised more than £12,000 for the project.

Daily Echo:

“Most people take a lifetime to train to do things like this. I can’t believe I have done this in one year,” the 32-year-old said.

“The Kalahari was the ultimate challenge. I was really nervous and it was tough. Day six was the worst it was 42C and really windy, like being in a fan oven.

"The longest day was when we ran 75km and 30km of that was uphill in sand so it wasn’t easy but I kept thinking of all the people supporting me at home.”

She added: “It does seem a bit of a dream but I have proved anyone can do anything if you have something to motivate you. You don’t have to be good at something. You just have to keep going, and keep smiling and dancing,” she laughs.

The Maths teacher at Southampton’s King Edward VI School even set herself a list of tongue-in-cheek unofficial challenges.

These included ‘learn to like porridge’, ‘learn to love running’, ‘to smile no matter how much pain I’m in’ and ‘give up alcohol until I’ve finished all challenges.’

“I kept my alcohol challenge. I’m looking forward to celebrating Christmas with people I haven’t seen for a long time because I have been so busy training.

"I still hate porridge and I didn’t like running until I ran in the desert. It was incredibly beautiful and actually I started to think it wasn’t so bad after all.

“Running under the stars in the desert, feeling quite insignificant but knowing I am making a difference was just amazing.”

And what will next year hold?

“I’ve got nothing planned yet but last year I planned all this on New Year’s Eve so I will see!”

Polly is still collecting donations.

To support her go to challenge13.co.uk

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