A mother of five is determined to run in next year’s London marathon in a pair of fancy five-inch high heels, despite warnings from people about the health risks that running 26.2 miles in stilettos entails.
Natalie Eckert from Stoke-on-Trent in the UK, has a passion for running and towering heels, but until now the 37-year-old never thought about combing her twin loves before.
That is until she heard the tale of German woman Julia Plecher who made history by running 100m in 14.351 seconds in a pair of golden heels.
Taking inspiration from the stiletto sporting German, Mrs. Eckert though she’d go one better and compete in the 2015 London Marathon wearing a pair of sparkly five-inch heels.
Although she has never competed in a marathon before, Mrs Eckert has plenty of experience of wearing heels and told the Stoke Sentinel about her love for shoes that tower.
“My friends are always laughing at me because I’m always wearing high heels, even on the school run. I’ve been known to wear them when I’ve been pregnant. I absolutely love them.”
Although the London Marathon is renowned for runners wearing costumes from the bizarre to the deranged and the outright disturbing as they grunt and groan around the UK capital, no-one has yet to attempt the famous slog in a pair of heels before.
And there’s probably good reason. Well at least three, and they include joint damage, slipped discs, and broken ankles. Yet despite the risks, Mrs Eckert remains confident of completing the race in an ambitious time of four hours
The Daily Mail reports that the well-heeled athlete’s training regime involves boxing on three nights a week and running on the other two, and as well as raising £5,000 for charity she hopes her towering achievement will secure her a place in the Guinness World Book Of Records.
“I’ve got 25 weeks to up my training. I started running in heels a few weeks ago but it didn’t feel too strange. The only problem I think I might have is getting the heel caught in a hole or something like that on the road.
“I would like to do it under four hours. I have never ran a full marathon, the maximum distance I have ever done is a half marathon, but I want to set myself an ambitious target.
“The Guinness World Record people said the minimum height is three inches but I thought that was no problem. The smallest pair I have are five inches so I have been training in them anyway.
“It’s not as though this is going to be an easy task for me. I’m a mother of five children and my youngest is only a three-month-old baby. It’s going to take a lot of hard work and dedication.”
To meet the Guinness World Book Of Records exacting standards, the stiletto sportswoman will need to bring four pairs of identical heels to the big race in April.
Mrs Eckert is also hoping to attract a celebrity name to sponsor her attempt to do the hard yards in a pair of fancy footwear because she wants to raise as much money as possible in aid of Asthma UK and Winston’s Wish.
“My son who is two has been diagnosed with asthma so I wanted to donate to the charity. I had asthma as a child so I know how bad it can be.
“I have been in touch with Stella McCartney, Jimmy Choo and Victoria Beckham. I’m hoping at least one of them will get back to me.
“I haven’t got the pair of shoes I’m going to do the race in yet but I’m hoping Jimmy Choo might donate a pair if I’m lucky.
“I’ve also contacted Elastoplast. Fingers crossed they get back to me because I’m going to have some huge blisters.”
Yet according to critics in The Daily Mail’s comments sections, where bickering bitterness, snidely sniping, gleeful gloating and troublesome trolling runs rife, the high-heeled warrior is seen not so much as an inspiration, but an idiot and a danger to herself.
One poster going by the name of Dobby snarled, “There’s a vast difference between the German lady running 100m and this idiot running a marathon! Wonder if her shoe size matches her IQ?” Ouch!
Meanwhile girlnorth from Canada barked, “Hopefully people will contribute enough to cover the cost of your injured back discs as well as the torn ligaments &/or fractured ankle(s). What an entirely stupid thing to do.”
ANU from Essex growled, “A big price to pay for such little fame, how sad, get a life there are better ways to raise money for charity that don’t involve sacrificing your entire body! Kind of defeats the point really.”
Elsewhere Mutal from Chertsey appeared to have a moment of existential despair and lamented, “There will always be an idiot.”
Yet in what appeared to be a response from Mrs Eckert herself, a poster going by the name of Teamstiletto snapped, “Thanks haters for fueling me and spurring me on! This stunt is called PUBLICITY FOR A GOOD CAUSE. But carry on with the ridiculous comments about my feet – and my breasts – and come April you can all shove your words back into your oversized mouths. Be sure to pass on your details of your charity events too won’t you and I’ll be sure to sponsor you guys too! Much love!”
To donate to Natalie’s marathon challenge, visit her Teamstiletto page on Facebook or contact @teamstiletto on Twitter.