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7 Marathons. 7 Continents. 7 Days. Veteran Takes on the Ultimate Running Challenge in Aid of Bereaved Military Children.


Seven marathons. Seven continents. Seven days.

It sounds impossible. But, that’s the challenge veteran, adventurer and mental health campaigner, former Major Sally Orange, plans to take on in early 2023 while raising money for seven charities that mean a great deal to her – including Scotty’s Little Soldiers, the charity for bereaved military children.

“I know a couple of families who have been supported by Scotty’s, and the impact it has on their children to interact with other people who have also experienced the death of a military parent is massive. If it weren’t for Scotty’s, many of these kids might never meet anyone else who has been through what they’ve been through, but because of Scotty’s they can and do. It’s forms some really important connections.”

Sally Orange with her Scotty flag

Around the world in 7 days

Sally’s epic challenge will take her on a whirlwind around-the-world trip from Antarctica to Cape Town, Perth to Dubai, Madrid to Brazil, before completing her final marathon along the streets of Miami. It’s a huge undertaking, and one that the veteran has been planning for a very long time. 

“It’s taken four years to reach this point. Part of that is Covid, another part is the cost, and another part is just the complications of life. But, over that whole time, this has been what I’ve been aiming towards. I’d say it’s the Everest of running, but even that’s not quite right, because less people have achieved this than successfully climbed Everest. There has also never been a female veteran to complete the challenge, so if I complete it then I’ll be the first. It’s the pinnacle of marathon running, really. It’s going to be the hardest thing I’ve ever done.”

Sally running the New York City Marathon dressed as a big apple

Breaking barriers (and records)

This isn’t Sally’s first time undertaking an extraordinary challenge. In fact, she’s something of an expert at them. Sally is the only person on the planet to have completed a marathon on every continent while wearing fancy dress (as different pieces of fruit). She also holds multiple Guinness World Records, has run over 70 marathons, completed eight full Ironman triathlons and much more. In addition to all this, Sally possesses 22 years exemplary service in the Royal Army Medical Corps as a Physiotherapy Officer, something which she believes has had a significant impact on her mindset. 

“I think I already had it in me, but being in the military really forces it all to come out. Going through the experiences you go through, it gives you the confidence you need to handle other challenges. Sometimes, if I’m getting a bit nervous about something, I think about all the similar things I’ve overcome in the past and it reminds me there’s no reason I can’t overcome this, too. Sometimes it doesn’t even need to be a similar experience. You gain so many transferrable skills and become very capable in lots of different areas. It definitely impacts the way you view yourself and the world around you.”

Sally, dressed as a chilli, running somewhere chilly

Connecting with people who understand

 This won’t be the first time Sally has supported Scotty’s, either. In 2021, she joined a group of soldiers from the Royal Tank Regiment who took on the legendary Spartan Beast challenge in support of Scotty’s Little Soldiers, and later that same year she spearheaded a campaign to raise awareness of the charity and the support we offer bereaved military children. 

“A child experiencing the death of a parent has such a huge impact on their mental wellbeing, especially if all those feelings aren’t channelled in a healthy way. But Scotty’s can help them deal with those negative feelings. I’ve seen the support the children supported by Scotty’s receive and the connections they make with each other... It’s not just the children, either – their parents receive support and are able to make those connections with other parents who understand what they’ve been through. Being able to talk with someone who gets what you’re experiencing and can offer real guidance is such a massive help when it comes to dealing with mental ill health.”

Sally supporting Scotty's in the Arctic Circle

Asking for help

Every charity Sally has chosen to support during her 777 challenge supports mental health in some capacity. Scotty’s is no exception, offering a variety of services to our Members and Springboarders including one-to-one bereavement support.  

Sally is no stranger to dealing with mental health challenges herself – something she speaks about honestly and openly.  

“I was medically discharged with depression and anxiety. I hid it for a long time and never talked about it. It was only when I hit rock bottom and had already written my suicide note that I ended up getting help, which was extremely difficult, because when your head is in that place, you don’t really want it. I don’t want other people to get that to that point, and by talking about mental health struggles we can normalise it and hopefully people won’t feel like they need to leave it as long as I did before seeking help. 

“I liken it to my background as physiotherapist. If someone comes to me with an ankle injury straight away, there’s usually quite a simple fix. On the other hand, if someone injures themself and waits three months before they see me, then the problem has already developed and it’s going to be far more complicated to fix. I’m running to make sure no else has to go through that.”

Sally, dressed as a lemon, completing the Hamburg Marathon

Scotty's founder, Nikki:

“Sally pushes herself further and further every time she supports Scotty’s, but the 777 challenge takes it to a whole new level. I can’t even begin to imagine what running seven marathons in seven days must be like, but I do know if anyone can do it, it’s Sally. Her resolve and determination are inspiring, and every penny she raises will help Scotty’s continue to offer support to bereaved military children whenever they need it. I can’t wait until February, when we’ll hear all about how the challenge went!”

Sally and Nikki at the 2020 Soldiering On Awards

Supporting bereaved military children

 Scotty’s Little Soldiers is a tri-service charity dedicated to supporting children and young people (0 to 25 years) who have experienced the death of a parent who served in the British Armed Forces.

Inspired by the experience of Army widow Nikki Scott, following the death of her husband Corporal Lee Scott in Afghanistan in 2009, the charity, which was set up in 2010, provides support and guidance to hundreds of bereaved military children and young people throughout their childhood.  

Services offered to Scotty’s members include access to child bereavement support, guidance to parents and carers, personal education and learning assistance (including grants), and fun activities such as holiday respite breaks and group events. These are all designed to remind the children and young people supported by Scotty’s that they are not alone.   

If you know a child or young person who has experienced the death of a parent who served in the British Armed Forces, they could be eligible for specialist bereavement support from Scotty's Little Soldiers. Hundreds of bereaved military children aren’t getting the support they need but we are here to help.

Sally, dressed as a pink lady apple, ready to take on the London Marathon

If you are the parent or carer of a bereaved military child or young person, click here. 

If you work with bereaved children & young people, click here.  

If you are a bereaved young person seeking support, click here.  


Support bereaved military children – Donate to Scotty’s Little Soldiers 

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