Nothing could stop this British woman, and her bad knee, from hiking 318 miles in 6 days

In a year where Major League Baseball has been delayed, the 2020 Olympics have been postponed, and the NBA season has been moved to something called a "bubble," a new sport has emerged as the ultimate athletic challenge in our COVID-19 world, at least for one British woman.

"Peak bagging" is an activity where hikers, mountaineers, and sometimes runners attempt to reach the summit of every mountaintop in a published list of peaks, and Sabrina Verjee, a British ultra runner, has just become the first woman to complete the 318 mile route through the 214 English peaks known as the "Wainwrights." Oh, and she did it with a bum knee.

The 39-year-old veterinary surgeon ascended over 35,000 meters on her run, completing the trek in just 6 days, 17 hours and 51 minutes, just eleven hours short of the record, which was broken last year. She completed the race on July 12th, after beginning it on the 6th, and plans to do it again in the near future. When she finished there were two previous Wainwright record holders, Joss Naylor and Steve Birkinshaw, waiting to congratulate her at the finish line.



"I'm so happy to have completed my round and more than a little relieved. My right knee hasn't been happy for a couple of days, so the final sections were very tough, especially as the fatigue really started to kick in," Verjee said in an interview.



Sabrina Verjee isn't new to pushing the limits of human endurance, just last year she took fifth place in the Montane Spine Race, a 270-mile ultramarathon through the blistering winter cold across the Pennine Way, an English national trail that runs through Scotland. She was also the first woman to complete the race. Before that, she came in second in the 2017 Berghaus Dragon's Back Race, a Welsh mountain race that boasts ascents adding up to twice the height of Mount Everest. Despite her resume of being, perhaps, the greatest walker alive, Verjee claimed in a Facebook post that she doesn't "claim any record for this achievement," on account of her relying on her support due to a knee injury. She does, however, look forward to completing the challenge again in the future. More than 200 people have responded to the post, praising Verjee for her endurance and humility, and congratulating her for completing the challenge.

Despite being one of the most prominent athletes in her field, Verjee is also a veterinary surgeon based in Ambleside. She had been waiting for the go-ahead from Prime Minister Boris Johnson for British citizens in the pandemic to be allowed to participate in "unlimited exercise." As soon as she got it, she completed the hike, despite having minimal support due to her insistence on taking COVID-19 precautions.

Verjee exhibits perseverance in an unprecedented time of anxiety, uncertainty, and immobility for the world as it faces the current pandemic. By continuing to train throughout quarantine, adjusting her support system to lower risk for potential COVID-19 transferrances and continuing to push through a knee injury that threatened to spoil the whole hike, Verjee proves that global pandemics aren't an excuse for people to stop doing amazing things, as long as they're gone safely, that is.

Photo by Anna Shvets from Pexels
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Increasingly customers are looking for more conscious shopping options. According to a Nielsen survey in 2018, nearly half (48%) of U.S. consumers say they would definitely or probably change their consumption habits to reduce their impact on the environment.

But while many consumers are interested in spending their money on products that are more sustainable, few actually follow through. An article in the 2019 issue of Harvard Business Review revealed that 65% of consumers said they want to buy purpose-driven brands that advocate sustainability, but only about 26% actually do so. It's unclear where this intention gap comes from, but thankfully it's getting more convenient to shop sustainably from many of the retailers you already support.

Amazon recently introduced Climate Pledge Friendly, "a new program to help make it easy for customers to discover and shop for more sustainable products." When you're browsing Amazon, a Climate Pledge Friendly label will appear on more than 45,000 products to signify they have one or more different sustainability certifications which "help preserve the natural world, reducing the carbon footprint of shipments to customers," according to the online retailer.

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In order to distinguish more sustainable products, the program partnered with a wide range of external certifications, including governmental agencies, non-profits, and independent laboratories, all of which have a focus on preserving the natural world.

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Of the millions of Americans breathing a sigh of relief with the ushering in of a new president, one man has a particularly personal and professional reason to exhale.

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To his credit, Dr. Fauci remained politically neutral through it all this past year, totally in keeping with his consistently non-partisan, apolitical approach to his job. Even when the president badmouthed him, blocked him from testifying before the House, and kept him away from press briefings, Fauci took the high road, always keeping his commentary focused on the virus and refusing to step into the political fray.

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If the past year has taught us nothing else, it's that sending love out into the world through selfless acts of kindness can have a positive ripple effect on people and communities. People all over the United States seemed to have gotten the message — 71% of those surveyed by the World Giving Index helped a stranger in need in 2020. A nonprofit survey found 90% helped others by running errands, calling, texting and sending care packages. Many people needed a boost last year in one way or another and obliging good neighbors heeded the call over and over again — and continue to make a positive impact through their actions in this new year.

Upworthy and P&G Good Everyday wanted to help keep kindness going strong, so they partnered up to create the Lead with Love Fund. The fund awards do-gooders in communities around the country with grants to help them continue on with their unique missions. Hundreds of nominations came pouring in and five winners were selected based on three criteria: the impact of action, uniqueness, and "Upworthy-ness" of their story.

Here's a look at the five winners:

Edith Ornelas, co-creator of Mariposas Collective in Memphis, Tenn.

Edith Ornelas has a deep-rooted connection to the asylum-seeking immigrant families she brings food and supplies to families in Memphis, Tenn. She was born in Jalisco, Mexico, and immigrated to the United States when she was 7 years old with her parents and sister. Edith grew up in Chicago, then moved to Memphis in 2016, where she quickly realized how few community programs existed for immigrants. Two years later, she helped create Mariposas Collective, which initially aimed to help families who had just been released from detention centers and were seeking asylum. The collective started out small but has since grown to approximately 400 volunteers.