Green beret to run streets of London

THE first woman to win the prized Royal Marines' green beret is undertaking her latest challenge this weekend.

Philippa Tattersall from Tarland will run the London Marathon on Sunday in aid of Help for Heroes, the charity that supports soldiers injured in the line of duty.

The 34-year-old said one of her aims has always been to run the marathon.

"The London Marathon was one of those challenges I had on my 'to do' list," she said. "I had always wanted to swim the English Channel and I managed to do that three years ago. Running the London Marathon was the next big challenge for me and after that my next aim is to climb Mount Kilimanjaro."

In 2002 Philippa hit the headlines when she became the first female to pass the nine-week commando course, which is regarded as one of the toughest in the world.

She is currently on a sabbatical year doing a masters degree in management training and development at Edinburgh University.

Philippa admitted it has been tough to fit in training for the marathon in between lectures.

"It has been a challenge to keep up with my training and my studies but I am pleased with how it has gone," she said. "I have completed my final long run before the race and it went well. I have taken it easier this week in the build-up to Sunday.

"I have been doing a lot of training with the university running club and I have been managing to go out four or five times a week, so hopefully I am suitably prepared."

Philippa, known to friends and family as Pip, said she was delighted to have the opportunity to raise funds for Help for Heroes.

She explained: "I did not enter through a charity but when I received my entry I decided to run for Help for Heroes so anything I can raise will be a bonus.

"It was an obvious choice for me having been in the military for eleven years. Help for Heroes is an amazing charity and it provides vital support to the guys and girls that need operations and it is a support that didn't exist previously.

"I have met some of the people who have benefited from the charity and that inspired me to help the cause."

Fitness fanatic Philippa was accompanied by her cocker spaniel Cailean when she ran to success in the 2008 Female CaniX Championship last May.

And the Tarland woman again demonstrated her sporting prowess earlier this year when she won a silver medal in the British Snowboarding Championships in Laax, Switzerland.

Philippa says she will be pleased if she finishes the 26.2-mile run in less than four hours.

She added: "I did the Edinburgh half marathon a few weeks ago in one hour and 33 minutes. I regularly go on 7-mile runs and I know I can do 12 miles without too much difficulty. The problem is going to be between 15 miles and 23 miles. By that time your body is going to want to stop but I'm hoping the crowd will spur me on and help me reach the finishing line."

Anyone who would like to sponsor Philippa Tattersall can do so at her website – www.justgiving.com/piptattersall