Ultra-runner Jasmin Paris adds royal honour to long list of achievements

Ultra-runner Jasmin Paris has been made a Member of the Order of the British Empire (MBE) in the King’s Birthday Honours.

The 40-year-old, from Gorebridge in Midlothian, has completed some of the toughest and most gruelling races around the world.

She receives the honour for services to fell and long-distance running.

In March this year, the veterinary lecturer made history by becoming the first woman to complete the 100-mile Barkley Marathons in Tennessee.

She made it across the finish line with 99 seconds to spare before the 60-hour cut-off.

Dr Paris won the British Fell Running Championships in 2015 and again in 2018, establishing her reputation in the UK.

She had previously held the record in the Bob Graham Round, a fell running challenge in the Lake District, and the Ramsay Round near Fort William.

International recognition came when she won the 2016 Skyrunner World Series, which involves mountain running at altitudes above 6,600 feet.

In 2019 she was the overall winner in the Spine Race along the Pennine Way, a 268-mile winter ultra-marathon.

During the race she even found time to express milk for her baby daughter Rowan, going on to break the course record by more than 12 hours.

She only slept for three hours during the challenge and began to hallucinate near the end, telling the BBC: “I saw a pig in the heather, trees stretching and doing a morning workout in the woods, workmen doing stretches, a house appeared and I was very cold.

“There is not much of a comfort zone between a bad situation and an OK situation and I was aware I was pushing my limits, but I know that’s what happens.”

Outside of running, Dr Paris is a senior lecturer in small animal medicine at the University of Edinburgh and a mother of a six-year-old daughter and three-year-old son.

Speaking to the PA news agency, she said a love for the outdoors led to her taking up hill running.

She said: “They’re just just kind of a special place, mountains.

“They give you a kind of sense of perspective and peace. I always come back from the hills feeling better.”

She fits her training regime around her job at the university’s veterinary school.

On a typical weekday she will get up at 5am to train, with other days set aside for intensive sessions and evenings kept for family time.

Following her win in the Spine Race, she said many interviewers had asked her about taking part in the Barkley Marathons in the US, which would prove to be her toughest challenge yet.

Dr Paris said: “It’s a kind of big, hard legendary challenge.

“People obviously were aware of the fact that no woman had finished it.

“So it was kind of a natural question that people started asking in interviews after the Spine Race.”

In September she plans to take part in the Tor des Geants trail race in Italy, which covers 330km and has an elevation gain of 24km.

Her advice for people looking to take up the sport is to “keep it fun” and run with friends or a club.