Old Sedberghian becomes youngest female to run length of Britain aged 22

Imogen Boddy, a former pupil of Sedbergh School,  has become the youngest known female to run the length of Britain. 

Aged just 22, she ran 60km (40 miles) a day for 22 days from John o’Groats to Land’s End. Imo, from Yorkshire, completed the 1340km challenge, known as JOGLE, on Sunday July 10.

Imo said: “It feels amazing to have finished. Surreal! I don’t think it has sunk in yet.”

2. Imo Boddy Centre With Dad Julian Left And Support Chris Taylor Right At Lands End. Credit Tom Leeming
Imo Boddy Centre With Dad Julian Left And Support Chris Taylor Right At Lands End. Credit Tom Leeming

She added: “I’ve never done anything so hard in my life and sometimes it felt very overwhelming but I never doubted I would complete it. 

“I couldn’t have done it with the support of my family and friends.”

Imo also thanked her project sponsors, including headline sponsor Frostrow Capital. She said: “Without the backing of my sponsors, especially Frostrow, I could not have even started to imagine my record-breaking run. 

“I am very grateful to those that have supported me and for having the confidence in my ability and dream.”

In 2018, the previous record holder Megan Al-Ghailani completed a JOGLE run in 40 days and celebrated her 23rd birthday during the feat. The youngest known male to run north from Land’s End to John o’Groats (LEJOG) is Tom Hunt, who took 30 days in 2016.

Imo’s JOGLE run is an unofficial world record. She said: “It won’t be an official record because Guinness World Records stated they are not keen to encourage running records for young people.”

An important part of the feat was raising funds for the mental health charity, Young Minds. Imo has raised almost £26,000 so far.

Imo, a personal trainer, said: “I have spent a lot of time during the run reflecting on how important exercise is for mental health. Exercise helps to keep us balanced mentally.

“I also hope I have shown that we are capable of so much more than we think we are.”

Imo started her ultra run at John o’Groats on June 19. She followed the most direct route south, mainly sticking to roads. She was supported for the full challenge by her parents Laura and Julian in a motorhome. Friends and family members have joined her for sections of the run. Logistics and cycling safety support has been provided by former Marine and accomplished ultra runner Chris Taylor.

Imo described many ups and downs during JOGLE. She said: “The first part of every day was so hard mentally. The first 10 days were also very tough physically.

Imo Boddy And Her Logistics Planner Chris Taylor
Imo Boddy And Her Logistics Planner Chris Taylor

“I had many painful blisters on my feet and then a sore tendon in my right foot and also a sore left knee, probably because I was compensating for the sore foot. At times I couldn’t see the light ahead.

“But then my body seemed to adapt a bit. People said this would happen but early on I didn’t believe it would. 

“After that it has just been coping with the long days and getting through the 60km. There have been some very hot days, too.”

Imo described the 22 days of daily ultra marathons as “like being in a bubble of running”. 

She said: “Everything else has been done for me and I have just needed to run and walk the distance and others have organised my food, recovery treatments and sleep.

“The support from everyone has been incredible.”

Last year, Imo completed seven marathons in seven days to raise funds for the charity, MIND. While attending Sedbergh School aged 16 to 18, she also created The Boddy Challenge, aimed at sixth-form girls. The endurance event consists of a 10km swim in Lake Windermere, running a marathon around Lake Windermere and then cycling 40km back to Sedbergh, all in under 12 hours.

She said: “I’ve always loved setting myself mental and physical challenges. Testing your limits and seeing how much you can achieve is very rewarding.”

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