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Abby, Danielle and Verity share their Miles For Mermaids stories

Our challenge event Miles For Mermaids is back and better than ever! 

With different distance options to suit all abilities, these virtual events are designed so that you can support the vital work we do while moving your body at a time, place and pace that suits you. 

And best of all, we’ve got a brand new medal for 2022. 

We caught up with three proud medal-winners – Abby, Danielle and Verity – to hear what inspired them to take on their Miles For Mermaids challenges, the hurdles they encountered along the way, and find out about the people who inspired them to make it to the finish line.

“Go at your own pace” – Abby 

A woman with a blue t-shirt and blue headband with red stars smiles broadly as she holds up a medal
Abby is delighted with her achievement
Tell us about your Miles For Mermaids challenge. 

I did my M4M challenge last year when I wanted to set myself the goal of running 10km, as I usually only manage 5km. I’m a regular runner but very slow, so I never get very far! Doing the challenge meant I had to commit to the distance AND the cause, so no backing out!

What was the best thing about it? What was the worst? 

I live by the sea, so the best thing was just enjoying more of the view as I ran. The worst was that I decided to do the run in February so it was bracing! 

Three top tips for making it to the finish line. 

Go at your own pace, take breaks to walk if you need to and have a treat waiting at the end to spur you on – mine was some new running socks!

Who are your sporting inspirations?

British swimmer Alice Dearing, triathlete Chris Mosier and Mermaids’ very own Verity Smith!

What would you say to someone considering taking on their own Miles For Mermaids challenge? 

Own your challenge and do it your way! Challenges can feel daunting but they don’t need to be. The important thing is to see it as a treat, not a chore. 

“It’s been the best few months of my life” – Danielle

Danielle, a woman with long brown hair, wears her medal on top of a t-shirt which reads 'nevertheless, she persisted'
Danielle wears her medal

In December 2021, Danielle swam 5km for Mermaids, raising an incredible £1,100. Inspired to take on the challenge because of anti-trans stories in the media, she says it was thinking about the trans kids that would benefit from her donation that kept her going through those gruelling lengths.

Watch the video below to find out more about Danielle’s Miles For Mermaids experience.

“Avoid swans” – Verity

A bald man with a bear and septum piercing holds up a medal with a blue, white and pink striped ribbon
Verity with his Miles For Mermaids medal
Tell us about your Miles For Mermaids challenge. 

My M4M challenge was done at Pugneys Country Park in Wakefield in January 2021. I did my 5k in my wheelchair with my labrador and labradoodle. We went around the lake twice to cover the right amount of ground. 

What was the best thing about it? 

Getting out and doing something to raise money for a great cause and to raise awareness but also getting fresh air and exercise for myself and the dogs in the process. This is something anyone can do. And gives a voice to the trans and gender diverse community.

What was the worst? 

Definitely been chased by a swan! I am scared of birds. It even tried to get in my Landrover and the dogs didn’t rescue me. Also, the state of the dogs in the mud. They loved it and were tired but decided they needed to jump through to the front of the car while I went to get an ice cream. I fell out my wheelchair so was a bit muddy too!

Three top tips for making it to the finish line. 

Wear warm clothing, go at your own pace and avoid swans!

A swan rests its beak on the open window of a car
A swan tries to get in the car with Verity!
Who are your sporting inspirations?

A woman called Jacquie Edhouse who taught me how to play rugby as a kid which set me up for the rest of my life and my playing career (30 years now, sshh!) Also, Jonah Lomu, number 8 of the All Blacks, New Zealand’s rugby team. A force to be reckoned with and the same playing number as myself.  

What would you say to someone considering taking on their own Miles For Mermaids challenge? 

Help raise money and raise awareness for a great charity. There are many wacky and fun ways to do this, just make sure it’s safe and fun and you take lots of pictures along the way to tell people about your adventure. And don’t forget the amazing medal you will get at the end!

Tempted to take on your own Miles For Mermaids challenge? Visit the website and sign up today!