They are running in aid of SPANA (Society for the Protection of Animals Abroad), which works to improve the welfare of working horses and donkeys in the world’s poorest countries in Africa and the Middle East. The charity provides free veterinary care for working animals in static and mobile clinics, and has emergency outreach teams that can provide life-saving help when natural
disasters or conflicts strike. As well as this practical aid, SPANA has a strong emphasis on education and training, to improve welfare standards for working animals in the future by educating young people and children.
Victoria experienced SPANA’s valuable work first-hand when she spent time in Ethiopia in February 2013 teaching at a week-long workshop for Ethiopian veterinary professionals including veterinary medicine lecturers and ambulatory vets. This Ethiopian workshop was special addition to SPANA’s education programme and was partly sponsored by donations from clients of Liphook Equine Hospital who had attended free evening meetings on laminitis, Cushing’s disease and weight control.
The girls chose to run in the Marrakech Marathon since the two British women who founded the charity began their animal welfare campaign in Morocco 90 years ago.
Training for a marathon is a major undertaking for anyone! Sarah and I are full-time vets at Liphook Equine Hospital, Victoria is an internal medicine specialist and Sarah is our head housevet. Since they both have intensive on-call rotas and the winter days are so short, there have been very few runs where they have not needed reflective gear and head-torches! There have been a few minor issues to overcome, not least when their favourite 6 mile trail running loop succumbed to a landslide during the Christmas storms so they had to plan new training routes for the past few weeks.
Victoria and Sarah would be very grateful for sponsorship to guide them through their few weeks of training and the marathon race itself! Further details about SPANA, their race, and sponsorship can be found at: www.justgiving.com/Victoria-Copas and www.justgiving.com/Sarah-Ross13
Sarah (left) and Victoria in the hospital buildings
Sarah (left) and Victoria in the grounds of the hospital preparing for a run
Victoria (front row fourth from right) at the Workshop for Ethiopian Veterinary Professionals
Victoria demonstrating a nerve block to vets as part of a SPANA workshop in Ethiopia in February 2013