Rosie and Fran – two amazing sisters, one formidable Ultra Marathon

November 16, 2021

NHS doctor Rosie Haddock booked herself into a 50k ultra marathon this weekend – because her sister, Fran, can no longer do it.

Rosie, from Milngavie in Glasgow, will be running in the Tweed Valley Ultra on Sunday to pay tribute to her younger sister who was training to run a marathon when she became ill with M.E.

In order to manage her energy levels, Fran had had to severely cut back her hours as a working vet.

“Three and a half years ago, while she herself was in peak health and training for a marathon. Fran became ill with a common virus and subsequently developed ME/CFS,” Rosie writes on her fundraising page. She is collecting donations for our Ramsay Research Fund.

“She has been unwell ever since, with symptoms of unrelenting fatigue, post-exertional malaise and continuous flu-like symptoms.

“Watching her manage and deal with this, mentally and physically, has been one of the most inspiring things I have ever observed. Every day has been a challenge for her but the way she has tried to keep a positive active outlook on life, while remaining kind, caring, empathetic and selfless, is truly remarkable.”

Fran, who works as a vet in Sheffield, is also a well-known – mostly online nowadays – climate activist.

Rosie (35) is something else as well. She has competed in many endurance events, from marathons to ironman. The Tweed Valley Ultra, 50k through forests, rolling hills, moorland and riverside trails, is her first ultra, although she says it is nothing compared to what people with ME have to go through.

Her husband Ian Smillie, is also running in the event, but a longer distance of 65k. “‘Why not', he said! We have just managed to run the West Highland Way over three days to train for this. We felt that was also an achievement in itself!”

Their father Ray will be travelling from his home in York to the start line near Peebles to cheer his daughter on.

Ray said today: “I'm biased of course but I have two amazing daughters. There's a bit of a fly in the ointment at the moment in that I heard yesterday that Rosie's now got a cold. But she hopes to be well enough to run on Sunday,”

Rosie invites contributions to her fundraiser here

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