Anorexia survivor runs 7 marathons in 7 days across Edinburgh to raise cash for BEAT
A woman who struggled with an eating disorder for nearly a decade has taken on a unique running challenge to raise cash for the eating disorder charity BEAT.
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Chiara Franzosi started running six years ago and quickly became ‘hooked’ on the freedom and happiness the sport brought her.
Now a regular ultra-marathon competitor, the 30-year-old customer service advisor said it was hard to adjust to life without running, after all organised events were closed due to Covid-19.
Determined to keep up her hobby during lockdown, the seasoned runner has created her own running challenges including a Royal Mile marathon, which saw her run the famous street 26 times.
Her latest running escapade required her to run seven marathons in seven days, including hill runs in the Pentlands and jogs through the city’s seven peaks.
“I was really proud I managed to complete it,” said Franzosi, after completing the challenge. “But I felt relieved that it was done.
“The pain was bad on days five and six but I kept going and managed better than I thought I was going to.”
Raised near Lake Orta in Northern Italy, the teen spent much of her early 20’s recovering from the destructive mental illness.
Now 30 and living in Edinburgh’s Old Town, Ms Franzosi said her recovery was slowed down by the lack of services available.
She said: “My parents organised appointments with nutritionists who told me I have to eat. There was nothing else, no one to really speak to.
“If I had more support I would have come out of my eating disorder quicker and would have found the right ways to cope a lot sooner.”
Determined to help others struggling to get the help they need, the keen runner is using her running challenge to raise awareness of the impact of eating disorders.
“Lockdown has been really hard for people struggling with eating disorders,” said Ms Franzosi. “Especially those struggling with binge eating and bulimia.”
Since the pandemic hit BEAT has experienced a 300 per cent increase in the number of calls to their helpline.
A spokesperson from BEAT said: “Sadly, the effect of the coronavirus and resulting restrictions on people with eating disorders has been devastating.
“We’ve seen a steady increase in the number of people contacting us with new symptoms of eating disorders, and we know that the recovery of many more is at risk.”
Community Fundraising Manager at BEAT Emily Battersby-Case said the charity is delighted with Ms Franzosi’s support.
She said: “We at Beat are so grateful for Chiara's support - running seven marathons in seven days is an incredible achievement.
“Since the beginning of the pandemic we've seen demand for our Helpline services soar and her fantastic efforts will help us to support as many people affected by eating disorders as possible.”