Run-shy vet to don ostrich outfit for charity at London Marathon

20 March 2018

Daniella will be running the London Marathon to raise funds for Animal Welfare Foundation

Companion animal and exotics vet Daniella dos Santos will be going the extra mile at the Virgin London Marathon (22 April) by running in an ostrich costume to raise money for the vet-led charity Animal Welfare Foundation (AWF).

The ostrich – the fastest bird on land – trumped other animals in Daniella's online costume nomination competition earlier this month, with donors pledging funds against five veterinary practice categories- small animal, large animal, equine, exotics and wildlife. So far, Daniella has raised a third of her £2,000 target.

Commenting on her decision to run the marathon, Daniella, an AWF trustee, said:

“Despite their amazing work, the AWF struggles for funds to continue its vital work, so I have decided not only to be the first ever person to run the London Marathon for the AWF, but to run it in costume! Those who know me will be aware that running is not among my favourite activities, but I am stepping up to the challenge to raise much-needed funds for this fantastic charity that's making a real, tangible difference to animals worldwide.”

Chris Laurence, AWF Chair of Trustees, said:

“I am delighted that Daniella has chosen to raise funds for AWF in what is arguably one of the biggest sporting events in the world. On behalf of the organisation, I'd like to thank her for her support and wish her all the best for the marathon.”

AWF was set up in 1983 to improve animal welfare through research funding, supporting veterinary education, providing pet care advice and encouraging debate on animal welfare issues. The charity is supported by the British Veterinary Association, the leading representative body for vets in the UK.

A 2012 Royal Veterinary College graduate, Daniella is the Principal Exotics Vet at Parkvets Hospital in Kent and is studying towards a certificate in Zoological Medicine. She is passionate about ethics and animal welfare and, apart from being on AWF's board of trustees, is an active member of the BVA Ethics and Welfare Advisory Panel, which was set up to support policy development during BVA's governance review.

To prepare for the London Marathon, Daniella has introduced a gruelling training schedule to overcome her running aversion, alongside juggling full-time work as a vet.

She said: “Working full time in clinical practice, including being part of an out-of-hours rota, means training must be factored in with military precision: so far, some of my longer runs are planned for 4 am! I also entered the Hastings Half Marathon on 18 March, and my final training run prior to the big day is scheduled for when I will be in Queensland, Australia for my brother's wedding. If I can manage 22 miles in those hot and humid conditions, the London Marathon should be a breeze!”

To support Daniella's fundraising, visit: