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Thurso campaigner out to fight gender-based violence – one marathon at a time


By John Davidson



Lorna Stanger speaking at last year's Reclaim The Night rally in Inverness. Picture: James Mackenzie
Lorna Stanger speaking at last year's Reclaim The Night rally in Inverness. Picture: James Mackenzie

A Thurso campaigner will be marking the United Nations’ 16 days of activism against gender-based violence with a challenge that goes the extra mile.

Lorna Stanger is no stranger to running long distances, but from Saturday she will run a marathon a day for the 16 days – amassing a total of nearly 420 miles.

Her first marathon will take place on Saturday in Inverness, and Lorna will then attend and speak at the Reclaim The Night rally in the Highland capital.

The march is organised by the charity, Rape and Sexual Abuse Service Highland (RASASH), of which Lorna is an ambassador and volunteer. The march through the city of Inverness will begin at 4.30pm from Wasps Inverness Creative Academy and end at the cathedral.

Myra Ross, a training officer with the Highland Violence Against Women Partnership, will also speak at the rally as well as reciting a hard-hitting poem she has written for the UN 16 days project.

Lorna explained that they had got T-shirts printed, each having a verse of Myra’s poem on, which she will wear for each marathon. The T-shirts were printed by Sutherland’s Pharmacy in Thurso, which provided its printing service free of charge for the charity effort, which is raising money for RASASH as well as awareness of the issues surrounding gender-based violence across the Highlands and Islands.

Last year, Lorna was recognised as volunteer of the year at the Highland Third Sector Interface after running back to Thurso from the Inverness march to raise money for RASASH. But this year’s challenge will be a different one.

The final marathon will be run in Edinburgh on December 10, where Lorna will meet other campaigners to mark International Human Rights Day. They will also meet ministers at the Scottish Parliament to highlight issues surrounding gender-based violence on December 7.

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Lorna said: "I'm looking forward to doing the marathons because I think they will be a lot easier than doing the whole day thing, although I like that idea too – as long as nobody says to me that I should run home [from Edinburgh]!

"I think your legs get progressively heavier. But to have a reason and extra motivation, the legs might not necessarily feel so heavy.

Lorna Stanger picked up an award for volunteer of the year at the Highland Third Sector Interface awards.
Lorna Stanger picked up an award for volunteer of the year at the Highland Third Sector Interface awards.

"RASASH are looking for new premises and more funding for support workers to help people in remote areas, so that's my fundraiser – but also to raise awareness of the 16 days of activisim against gender-based violence.

"The recovery takes a bit of time – it's not a sprint, it's a marathon."

Lorna is raising money for RASASH for her 16 marathons and people can donate at: https://www.justgiving.com/page/lorna-stanger-1700653856110

RASASH help and support victims of gender-based violence and provide a vital, often life-saving service. Funding will help them provide outreach support to rural and isolated areas within the Highlands and Islands as well as to manage helplines and to provide an advocacy service.


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