Kilimanjaro Nothing Compared To Half Marathon Challenge

To join Emily, Sarah and Jo on the start line in Manchester on Sunday 20 May, sign up today at

A GROUP of friends who met while climbing Kilimanjaro will take on their next charity challenge when they tackle the Simplyhealth Great Manchester Run in May.

Emily Rostamlou, Sarah Griffin and Jo Paddock met when they all scaled the mountain in Tanzania in 2016, where they were all raising money for Mind, the mental health charity.

The tentmates quickly became good friends and vowed to continue their fundraising with Emily, a native of Manchester, suggesting her hometown half marathon as the next challenge.

Sarah, from Leeds, and Jo, from Bristol, will join Emily on the start line on Sunday, 20 May, with more than 30,000 other runners who will be running for a variety of reasons – to better themselves, to raise money for good causes or just for fun.

A 13.1mile city centre run will be a departure from mountain climbing for the three fundraisers, but Emily, an executive assistant for AQA from Salford, is looking forward to the occasion.

She said: “We’re really excited, we’re feeling really positive about it. We are a little nervous. With Kili we didn’t know what to expect, but with this, we all know that if we’re not up to the fitness we will struggle.

“At the same time we’re excited because we all know how emotional it will be when we cross the finish line together. That we’ve achieved something else and raised awareness of mental health. We’re all looking forward to it.”

The trio are raising money for Mind as they have all encountered mental health issues, with Emily keen for the conversation around the subject to continue.

She explained: “Sarah’s dad had committed suicide, my grandma and great-grandma both committed suicide. Jo and myself have both had severe anxiety.

“We decided after Kilimanjaro that we all wanted to keep on raising money and raising more awareness of mental health. It’s really important to us and something we’re all passionate about.

“I’ve done a bit of public speaking about mental health which came from Kilimanjaro – I’m keen to talk about it. Kilimanjaro was a kick-starter for it. There’s so many people that come to you afterwards and say that I’ve given them courage to speak about it.

“In a room of 100, if one person comes up to you and says that it is still worth it. You don’t realise the power of speaking about your experiences. It’s a big deal. It’s not just doing the run, it’s talking about it that generates the conversation and that’s why we’re doing it.”

Despite having tackled one of the world’s biggest mountains, which demands a great deal of fitness and determination, Emily believes that the Simplyhealth Great Manchester Run poses a greater challenge.

She said: “We’re finding this tougher than training for Kilimanjaro. I know I am – I have injuries, I’m constantly getting shin splints and struggling to get out for runs for that, so I’m finding it quite tough.

“We’re in a little group and we’re keeping each other motivated. I’ve not ran before, Sarah has, and Jo has – I’ve not done anything. Jo is from Bristol, Sarah is from Leeds, I live in Manchester – they’re coming to me and at least we don’t have to fly anywhere for this challenge.

“The one thing that I learned from Kilimanjaro is that I don’t do camping, it’s a bit of a running joke amongst us. That was my biggest struggle while out there. It was only supposed to be a two-man tent but Jo came in with us because her tentmate was sick. It was cosy. For Manchester I get to stay in a comfortable bed so it will be fine.

“Hopefully we will spread some awareness, raise a little cash and all finish the run. I’m sure we’ll do that.”

To join Emily, Sarah and Jo on the start line in Manchester on Sunday 20 May, sign up today at