After 15 years immersed in the business world, Valerie Watson-Brown decided she had to seek a new challenge that took her away from it all.
First, she climbed Mount Kilimanjaro, raising almost £5,000 for the Zoological Society of East Anglia – and this weekend, she will tackle the London Marathon for the first time, in aid of cat welfare charity Feline Care.
Mrs Watson-Brown, a resident of Bridgham, best known in the Diss area for her part in running the BOLD Directories network of business forums, said her business endeavours are so “24/7” that taking on these challenges is actually “a bit of a relief”, despite the amount of training required.
“Through the countless hours of training for both challenges, I do believe the determination and single mindedness has carried me through. Perhaps this is why I am still in business 15 years on,” she said.
“Walking and running, I have clocked up hundreds of miles. Much of this has been done at 5.30am in the morning to fit in with the business pressures.
“Business hasn’t suffered and you could argue it has benefitted from delegating and encouraging staff to take on further responsibility.”
Mrs Watson-Brown, who also has a hand in marketing company The Lively Crew and environmental businesses Fresh Pod and Chill Pod, has been a trustee of Feline Care for several years, and will be running the marathon on Sunday dressed in a cat outfit.
She explained the charity was important not only as a cat sanctuary, but also for its role in controlling feral colonies.
“Whether you love or hate cats, there is a need for Feline Care because there are very few places like it,” she said.
She added that she was hopeful her connections in the business community would boost her fundraising efforts, with about £1,000 having been collected so far, thanks to the help of those she works with.
“I am lucky to have such great colleagues. They have been very supportive because they all say I’m a can-do person,” Mrs Watson-Brown said.
She added: “I’m not the least bit worried about the running.
“Preparation is everything, so I can say I can do it.
“But I’m absolutely terrified about going across the London Underground dressed as a cat. That’s probably more scary than the run.”
If you are interested in donating, please go to uk.virginmoneygiving.com/valeriewatsonbrown