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Manchester High School for Girls

An Ultra Fascinating Founders’ Lecture ​​​​​​​

We were delighted to welcome Class of 2002 alumna, Jasmin Paris, as speaker for our annual Founders’ Lecture yesterday.  She joined us virtually from Edinburgh on Burns Night to deliver an inspirational lecture on ‘Mountains, Mind and Motherhood’.

Since leaving Manchester High, Jasmin has enjoyed a successful career as a specialist small animal vet at the University of Edinburgh, where she has also carried out research into leukaemia.  Whilst focussing on her PhD, she discovered a new way to treat cancer cells without harming normal blood stem cells which is “a really exciting finding and is now potentially going to lead to new treatments for leukaemia.”  

However, Jasmin only touched briefly on her career - instead her lecture was much more about her successes and triumphs as an ultra-runner and her drive and determination to lead a fulfilled life.

She shared her journey from fell-runner to ultra runner, centring on her win at the Montane Spine Race - a nonstop race across the Pennine Way which is known as the backbone or spine of Britain. She talked about the challenges of the race itself, the hallucinations from lack of sleep and the sheer exhaustion of running 268 miles! 

Jasmin and her daughter at the end of the Montaine Spine Race

Jasmin smashed the overall record by more than 12 hours and the female record by over 26 hours.  Her win caught the attention of the national press, not only because of her amazing achievement, but also because she won it whilst breastfeeding her daughter, Rowan.

She said, “I am proud to be able to promote women in sport and the subject of breastfeeding which was discussed a lot afterwards as well… I hope that this is an example of a normal person just trying and believing in themselves and really doing more than they believed they were capable of.”

She closed her lecture with thoughts about the role sport plays in terms of her own wellbeing and happiness.  For Jasmin, passion and perseverance are so important in leading a fulfilled life, whether they are channelled into your career, motherhood or leisure activities. She believes that Manchester High and the education she received here certainly played a part in her self-belief and resilience and she will be continuing to use these skills as she embarks on more exciting challenges this year!

You can watch this Founders’ Lecture on our YouTube channel here: Founders' Lecture 2022