A PALLIATIVE care doctor from Oxford is walking a double marathon this weekend to raise much-needed funds for the hospice where she works.

Kirsty Durley, who works on the inpatient unit at Sue Ryder Duchess of Kent Hospice in Reading, is taking on Race to the King – a 53-mile endurance challenge between the historical sites of Arundel in West Sussex and Winchester in Hampshire.

Setting off from Arundel on Saturday morning, the 30-year-old and a group of friends from her local netball club will join hundreds of others on a 26-mile route along the iconic South Downs Way.

The group will camp overnight at the halfway point before walking another marathon distance the next day and eventually crossing the finish line at Winchester Cathedral.

To prepare for the historical trail challenge, she kicked-off February with a training program and has been walking or running four to five times a week alongside her busy job at the hospice and looking after her young daughter.

Kirsty said: "I like sport and I have always been quite fit, but I have never done an endurance challenge like this before.

"I have found that following a training plan was a really good way to keep fit during lockdown and I am really looking forward to walking with my friends, who I have not been able to see much over the past year."

During the pandemic, fundraising has been really challenging for all charities, so the doctor really wanted to do her bid and help out.

Talking about her motivation for signing up to the event, she said: "From working at the hospice I see first-hand how well the money is used and how much of a difference it makes to people’s lives.

"It is the extra services that Sue Ryder provides like complementary therapy and family support that makes the hospice so special."

Colleagues at the Sue Ryder Duchess of Kent Hospice wished Ms Durley the 'very best of luck' as she embarks on her journey.

Laura Kell, head of hospice fundraising, said they cannot thank her enough for her support and added: “Everyone at the hospice is wishing Kirsty the very best of luck as she embarks on this incredible challenge.

"Not only does she provide expert care and support to patients and their families every day, but she is also taking on a fundraising activity outside of work to support the hospice as we deal with the financial impact of Covid-19."

To support her during the challenge, visit uk.virginmoneygiving.com/KirstyDurley