A South Croydon woman raced up 38 floors to the top of the Gherkin skyscraper in only 6 minutes 10 seconds, just a day after completing a tower running challenge in Slovakia.

Sonja Shakespeare, 38, ran up 1,037 steps in aid of the NSPCC for the third time. She was joined by her husband and fellow Tower Running Victor, David Harris, who completed the challenge in just 5 minutes 23 seconds.

The couple have travelled the world together completing more than 50 tower runs, and challenges including events in New York, Shanghai, and Europe. Sonja has run the Salomon Ring of Steall Skyrace in Scotland and the Eiffel Tower.

The mother-of-one said: “The NSPCC is a really good cause, and looks after children. If anyone really wants to challenge themselves then go to the stairs.

“Out of all the stair races in London, The Gherkin is one of the biggest. There is nothing quite as pretty as The Gherkin, the finish line is beautiful and it was great fun.”

Not content with 38 floors, the day before The Gherkin Challenge Sonja flew to Bratislava, Slovakia, to take part in a 22-floor tower running competition.

Despite flying all over the world to compete in tower running competitions, Sonja initially hated the idea of climbing stairs and her husband had to persuade her to take part in her first one.

Mrs Shakespeare: “My husband had been doing some tower runs and tried to get me to do The Gherkin Challenge. I said to him there’s no way I can do that many steps at all.

“About 9 months later I did my first stair run and then a year later I did The Gherkin Challenge for the first time and I’ve been doing it ever since.

“The Gherkin challenge is so accessible, someone of any age or fitness can do it and it’s an amazing cardio workout. It is one of the best in London.”

It was the 10th year that members of #TeamNSPCC have climbed the 1,037 stairs to the top of The Gherkin, London to raise funds for the children’s charity on October 27.

Each £250 raised could help the charity reach 83 primary schoolchildren.

Charlotte Thompson, NSPCC senior fundraiser, said: “The Gherkin Challenge is a great opportunity to push yourself and have fun, but at the same time help the NSPCC protect children from abuse.

“Each step of this fantastic challenge has helped to raise an incredible amount of money over the past nine years and we are really grateful to all our fundraisers.

“I’d like to thank everyone who took part on the day and made it a success.”