An endurance athlete who went missing just days after completing a marathon running challenge for a mental health charity has been found safe and well, police said.
Sarah Thomson, 28, ran a marathon a day for a week for the charity Mind, completing her final run last Tuesday in three hours and 40 minutes.
She took on the challenge to help her own mental health after becoming “horrifically low” during previous lockdowns.
She was found shortly after an eight-hour search operation, which had been carried out in challenging conditions, had been called off.
Inspector Guy Blackford from Newquay Police tweeted: “Missing person now located. Thank you to everyone for the assistance.”
He also thanked coastguard teams and the National Police Air Service South West for their help.
Before she was found, Sarah had not been seen since 2pm on Saturday, and police were concerned for her welfare.
Officers searched Sarah’s home town of Newquay, Cornwall, over the weekend
Coastguard and police helicopters also took part in the major operation, centred on the Gannel Estuary.
Sarah, a former RAF fitness coach studying to be a paramedic, was on ITV’s Bear Grylls Survival School and has worked for the star as a survival expert. She won gold at the 2013 European Martial Arts Championships and came third in her first ultra-marathon in 2014.
Coastguard helicopter over Newquay
Sarah also finished ninth in the women’s UK Pro Surfing Tour in 2014-15 and aged 23 set a record of 23.5 days for the 870-mile Wales Coast Path run.
She spoke of her pride at completing the marathon challenge in an emotional Facebook post last week.
Sarah said: “The primary motivation was to put something in place to save my own head. I tried a lot of things, desperately searching for something to remind myself I had some mental strength to kick through something hard.
“I have now realised sporting competition is definitely a big factor in happiness for me.
“But the biggest thing I’ve discovered is that more than that, it’s people and it’s love.”
During the challenge she nicknamed her legs Gary and Barry so she could “give them a good talking to” when they got tired.
She left home as early as 2am on some days so she could get home in time to attend classes for her healthcare course.
She left at 5.30am on the remaining days so she would not encounter too many other people on her runs.
As of lunchtime on Sunday, her JustGiving page had raised £6,830 for Mind.
Earlier in the week messages of support and congratulations flooded onto her Facebook page.
Aimee Stapleford wrote: “You are so incredible Sarah, such an inspiring post and what an amazing thing you have done to support so many others, you are one in a million precious lady and I hope you are proud of all of your incredible achievements.”