Diagnosed with a mental health issue during her British Army career, military physiotherapist Sally Orange served her country for almost 22 years.
Her career saw her working with injured veterans, soldiers on deployment and sportspeople, providing support such as treatment and rehabilitation.
Sally has been taking part in international endurance events to raise money for charities for more than 10 years.
And, in 2019, Sally decided to move on from the military to begin a new life, which gives her more free time to focus on her wellbeing and fitness.
An Incredible Athlete
Sally joined the Army in 1998 and worked in a variety of physiotherapist roles including the rehabilitation of injured soldiers in the UK, Afghanistan and Iraq.
She also worked with the British Army Netball Team and the Ministry of Defence as a locum physiotherapist.
Alongside her Army life, Sally worked with the Fire Fighters Charity and Help for Heroes while volunteering for organisations including Rayleigh International, London Organising Committee of the Olympic & Paralympic Games, Jubilee Sailing Trust, and the World Para Athletics Championships.
Now, Sally continues to apply her military determination to complete extraordinary athletic challenges in the UK and around the world, while fundraising for charities.
She also finds the event really beneficial for her wellbeing.
World Records, Medals And Awards
Since running her first London Marathon in 2007 – dressed as an orange, naturally – Sally has completed more than 20 marathons around the globe, clad in different types of fruit costumes for each event.
Her sense of fun always raises smiles among fellow athletes and supporters and has even led her to break records.
In 2007 she was named the Guinness World Record holder for the fastest marathon runner dressed as a piece of fruit.
Her other record? The only person to complete a marathon in a fruit costumes on every continent.
Running is only part of Sally’s repertoire - she represented the UK in the 2016 Invictus Games and won bronze for road cycling.
Not only that, but in June 2019, Sally led the first-ever all-female team of wounded, injured or sick cyclists in the Race Across America.
Known as the world’s most gruelling cycling challenge, Sally and her teammates covered 3,070 miles over 12 states and climbed 190,000 feet in extreme temperatures in just eight days.
Sally believes the military skills possessed by the veteran cyclists working together as part of teams, help to drive their remarkable feat. She explains:
“The teamwork, the communication and organisational skills … it would’ve been very difficult had we not had those skills. It was nice to interact those with civilians’ skills as well.”
Having also cycled the length of New Zealand before, it’s no wonder Sally was a finalist for the Sporting Excellence Award at the Soldiering On Awards, which recognises a person or team, who has overcome challenges and demonstrated outstanding achievements in sport.
Sally plans to continue participating in endurance events for as long as possible. She also uses her triumphs as a springboard to give inspirational talks and press interviews.
Shifting Perception Of Veterans
Through her work, Sally is also keen to change the way the public perceive former serving personnel.
She believes many people still think of veterans as elderly.
However, she wants more people to appreciate that veterans cover a very broad range of age groups.
Another of her hopes it that ex-forces will soon be more recognised for their amazing skills, which benefit the civilian world.
This story is part of Life After Service, a week-long campaign where BFBS will be running positive stories about ex-service people across all its media channels.