Tough Girl Podcast

The Tough Girl Podcast is all about inspiring and motivating YOU! I will be interviewing inspirational women from around the world, who’ve faced and overcome difficult challenges and situations, they will share their story, their knowledge and provide advice and essential tips for you to overcome your own personal challenges. Please check out the Tough Girl Challenges website - and follow on twitter @_TOUGH_GIRL
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Now displaying: August, 2019
Aug 29, 2019

Since 2010, Zoe has been working on inspiring others to get out and get their soles active to get their souls revived - particularly through this year’s challenge of #100MappyDays.   

HeadRightOut is the brand new face of WathWalk and it’s here to encourage YOU to head out and try something new...                                                                                                                                

*Do you need to give yourself more outside time?                                                                                                                                                                            *Do you need to step out of your comfort zone a little more?                                                                                                                                      *Are there things that you deliberately avoid doing in your daily life in case you get it wrong?                                                                                                                                                               *Would you love to find a ‘braver’, more confident you?

If you answered ‘yes’ to any of these questions, then take a listen to this podcast episode because it is for you!  

HeadRightOut is about inviting everyone to become braver on a micro level, in order to face those bigger challenges that may seem unreachable at present.

As Zoe says, “Do something that scares you every day!” - Enjoy! 

Show notes

  • Who is Zoe?
  • Her love of walking 
  • Getting married in 2016!
  • Deciding to do the ‘up north triple crown’! (Pennine Way, Hadrian’s Wall & the Coast to Coast)
  • Having the most horrendous weather!!!
  • 16 days of British Rain
  • Keeping motivated
  • Going solo…
  • Walking thoughts and thinking about the future
  • Being able to support her parents
  • Needing to find a way of getting outside
  • #100MappyDays - where the idea came from
  • 2018 and the challenges faced at the start of the year
  • Doing the 50th Mappy Day on New Years Eve
  • Starting 2019 with a different perspective on life
  • Making time for yourself and why it can be hard to do 
  • Spending time reflecting back on life
  • Getting back on the bike!
  • When things don’t go to plan!!
  • Having 6 weeks off work…
  • Asking herself the tough questions
  • Making a massive decision that would change her life! 
  • The minimalists 
  • Making changes to save money and time
  • How everything is starting to come together now
  • Feeling empowered by the unknown
  • How WathWalk is evolving!
  • HeadRightOut
  • Launch date!
  • Heading off to hike the Coast to Coast!
  • Final words of advice 

Social Media

Website - 

Instagram - @headrightout  

Twitter  @headrightout  

Facebook @headrightout  

Aug 27, 2019

Wendy is setting out on a journey to the South Pole, her aim is to break the women’s speed record. This involves covering a total distance of 700 miles, approx. 17 miles each day, pulling kit and equipment in a pulk behind her, through the ice and snow, while avoiding crevasses and dealing with the challenging katabatic winds.

Antarctica is twice the size of Australia, and is officially a desert, it is the only continent with no permanent human inhabitants. Wendy will be solo, unsupported and unassisted. 

During this podcast, we learn more about Wendy her background, growing up, being a mum to 4 children and working a full time job. She shares more about where the idea came from, what’s going to be involved as well as sharing more of the detail behind the planning and preparation and what she has sacrificed in order to turn this dream into a reality. 

We will be speaking to Wendy again in 2020 after her challenge, make sure to subscribe so you don’t miss out! 

Show notes

  • 41, doing a big polar expedition in November
  • Heading off to South America in the next few weeks
  • Being inspired by polar history
  • Having a full time job and having 4 kids
  • Not being a professional athlete
  • Planning for over 5 years 
  • How she turned her dream into a goal
  • What she has learned along the way
  • Wanting to inspire other women along the way
  • How she got into sports
  • Her background in Adventures
  • Working backwards from her end goal…
  • Starting her Polar training
  • Maintaining her motivation over the 5 year period
  • Being driven as a person
  • How this challenge has taken over her whole life
  • Dealing with the logistics
  • How her family have stepped up and supported her
  • Breaking down the challenge into manageable chunks
  • Making marginal gains
  • How it occupies her mind all of the time
  • Let’s talk about the money (& how brexit may impact on it)
  • The hard graft of getting the money together 
  • How/why everyone has focused on her being a mum (of 4)
  • The mental preparation 
  • Being on her own for 38 + days
  • Starting everything on Christmas Eve and throwing herself into it
  • Her focus on mindfulness, and staying present in the moment
  • Dealing with tiredness
  • The physical training and how she’s been avoiding injury
  • Building up her strength and being the strongest she’s ever been
  • Example of her daily routine
  • Working with a nutritionist
  • Her first expedition/training trip in Norway
  • How she’s feeling about heading off in November
  • Flying into Antarctica on the 18th November 2019
  • Aiming to be the 7th woman to do this journey 
  • Advice and tips for other women who want to step outside their comfort zone

Social Media

Website -

Twitter - @betweensnowsky 

Instagram @betweensnowandsky 

Aug 22, 2019

Natalie Moore - quitting her job and heading to Madagascar for 6 weeks on a marine conservation program!

The ending of a bad relationship was the catalyst for Natalie taking back control of her life. Her first step was to sell the joint house, quit her job, and go to Madagascar for six weeks, where she volunteered in a marine conservation program. Since then, she's been pushing herself and her boundaries further and further, and completed her first ultra and multi day race in June. She's not fast, but she's determined. 

Words from Natalie, 

“I've been a long time listener of the podcast, and started supporting it almost after the first episode I listened to. It was so inspiring to me to hear about women doing amazing things, and I love knowing that we're all out there, doing them, even if it doesn't make the news, or the magazines. 

My happiness and my confidence have increased so much, and whenever I feel a bit of a wobble, I remember that if all these other amazing women can push themselves and achieve amazing things, I can at least try.”

Show notes

  • How she first heard about the tough girl podcast
  • Finding out more about Natalie 
  • How sports and exercise played apart in her life
  • Deciding to do her first triathlon 
  • Progressing in the triathlon
  • Being terrible at training 
  • Deciding to focus on running
  • Not getting the fear
  • Having a challenging 2018
  • Deciding to leave her relationship and quit her job
  • Not realising she wasn’t herself anymore
  • Heading off to Madagascar for 6 weeks
  • Having thinking time and time to reflect on life
  • Letting go of time and getting a sense of calm
  • The episodes which have resonated - Polly Vacher & Richelle Olsen
  • Not comparing herself with anyone else
  • Advice for other women and why you need to believe in yourself
  • What’s next…. and wanting to get back into triathlons or maybe an ultra…
  • Advice and tips for training needed!!!!


Carola Fekter - Running 12 marathons in 12 months on 4 continents to raise money for charity!

In 2017 Carola decided on a new challenge, completing in the World's Toughest Mudder a 24 hour Obstacle Race where each lap was 10 miles. Her goal was to do 5 laps, making it a total of 50 miles. It was while she was training for this race that she discovered the Tough Girl Podcast and she has been a huge fan ever since.

In 2018 she ran 12 Marathons in 12 months on 4 continents to raise money for charity. Shortly after Marathon number 10 she found out that she was pregnant, and had to decide whether to continue or abandon her big project. During this episode, Carola shares more about the World's Toughest Mudder,how she kept motivated and why she decided to run 12 marathons in 12 months, plus what happened when she found out she was pregnant with 2 marathons to go! 

Show notes

  • Living in Austria 
  • Her background
  • Discovering the tough girl podcast and Facebook group
  • Deciding to run in the Worlds Toughest Mother - 24 hr Obstacle Course Race
  • Being inspired by Sophie Radcliffe
  • How her race went!
  • Deciding not to quit half way through
  • The toughest obstacle 
  • Dealing with her fear of heights
  • Her big challenge in 2018
  • 12 marathons in 12 months for charity!
  • Going public with the challenge
  • Dealing with the negative pushback 
  • Dealing with the logistics and planning
  • Making compromises
  • Her background in running and running her first marathon in 2015
  • Learning from her new approach to running
  • Finding out she was pregnant with 2 more marathons to go…
  • Advice for other women who want to step outside their comfort zone

Social Media

Website  - (available in both English & German)

Twitter - @aerialspartan 

Instagram - @aerialspartan  

Facebook  - @aerialspartan 

Aug 20, 2019

Monika made history in 2019 when she became the first woman to ride the entire 3,058km route of the Vuelta a España. Which is know as one of cycling’s toughest grand tours. Monika started riding every morning at 6 am hours before the men started, she rode the full 21 stages which included a staggering 49,337m of climbing! This was all done in the blistering Spanish heat. 

Her mission was to prove her own RAD (Real, Adventurous, Daring) Method and to inspire other women to live a more adventurous life! 

During this podcast Monika shares more about her journey, studying over in America, not knowing if she was making the right decisions, trying to become a professional cyclist and realising it wasn’t for her. Monika is super passionate and positive about living an adventurous life! She goes after her goals with unbelievable focus - whether it is writing a book in 5 weeks or moving on a whim to a country she doesn’t speak the language of with just her bike and one nights accommodation booked. 

Show notes

  • Who is Monika
  • Growing up in Germany until she was 19
  • Wanting to be a CIA agent when she was younger
  • Deciding to move to America with a full time scholarship to play volleyball
  • Figuring out what she wanted to do with her life
  • Having to decide between a career in the World Bank or being a professional cyclist
  • Going back to her childhood and what life was like for her
  • Moving around a lot when she was younger and living in multiple places
  • Having a lot of energy and having a love for sports
  • Getting into volleyball in a big way
  • Not having a passion and struggling to decide what she wanted to do with her life
  • Figuring out how to pay for school and needing to get a scholarship
  • Spending 9 years living in America
  • Being unemployed at 30, with no mortgage, no plan and trying to decide what to do with her life
  • Moving with her bike to Spain (not speaking Spanish and not knowing anyone)
  • Trying a wide variety of different jobs
  • Making a positive impact on other people’s lives
  • Coaching other to live to their full potential 
  • Making the change to professional cycling in 2011
  • What she loves about cycling
  • How her friends and family reacted to her decision
  • What her definition of happiness is
  • Figuring out that professional cycling was not for her
  • Going back to a career - working for IBM as a management consultant as a management consultant
  • Giving herself one year to make it happen
  • Being scared that she had made a mistake
  • Being motivated to make it work and trying everything she could
  • Creating the RAD Method
  • Figuring out your purpose in life
  • Deciding to ride the in the Vuelta a España 
  • Getting funding for the race 
  • Everyone telling her she would fail
  • What a typical day looked like while riding in Spain
  • How she coped mentally with the pressures
  • Writing a book about the experience in 6 weeks
  • What the next challenge is going to be and why she wants to make a move into ultra running
  • Top tips and advice for other women
  • Inspiring others
  • The next big challenge!!

Social Media

Website - 

Instagram - @rad_monika  

Aug 15, 2019

Dani French - 42 challenges before turning 42 & Hannah Dayan - getting back into cycling and doing Cyclo-cross!

Dani French - Taking on 42 challenges before turning 42!

Dani French writes:

Hi, I love TG podcast, I was introduced last April and have embraced it thoroughly. I have almost listened to all of the back catalogue and am only a few shy. I started a 42 challenges before turning 42 last may shortly after beginning my TG journey and signed up to Patreon almost immediately after, I'm 19 challenges through and about to embark on a big 100 mile row next month. I had hip surgery between having my sons and various other complications, and at that time thought that my life as I knew it was ending, turns out so much has changed for the better that I'm fitter at 40 than 20! I have enriched my life so much since last April, thanks to you and your many amazing Tough Girls.

Website -

Show notes

  • Who is Dani
  • Being adventurous as a child
  • Being inspired by her parents 
  • How she heard about the tough girl podcast
  • Doing her own personal challenges
  • Sandhurst Sisterhood Facebook Group
  • Loving the rowing episodes
  • The next BIG challenge!
  • Rowing 100 miles!
  • Being happy with ageing and being excited to turn 40!
  • 42 by 42
  • Having a secret blog!
  • Training for the row
  • The charities and the 4 themes
  • What was the biggest challenge
  • Why Day 1 was the hardest
  • The importance of having a good plan
  • Doing challenges with children
  • Advice and tips for other women to get more challenges in their life
  • Words that she lives by 
  • The importance of great planning

Hannah Dayan - Getting back into cycling and doing Cyclo-cross!

Hannah Dayan writes:

I am planning after a 12 year break to get back into racing. Different discipline. The TG podcast has given me the confidence to give this a go. I've been so inspired and the one thing I have learned from all these amazing women is that life is short. Say yes to big dreams and big goals. And it's ok to be afraid. But so worth to find the tiniest little voice that wants to be so much louder and listen to her. So this autumn I'm diving into cyclo-cross. And I will probably come in last but I will be joyfully covered in mud. I still have logistics and my bike to sort out but the planning has started.

Show notes

  • Living in Birmingham
  • Growing up in Canada
  • Moving to the UK after her divorce
  • Starting a new life
  • Pushing herself outside her comfort zone
  • Being very shy
  • Taking big leaps every few years
  • How she got into cycling
  • Getting into mountain biking
  • Doing a 24hr mountain bike race!
  • Ride London (100 mile race)
  • Hearing about the tough girl podcast for the first time
  • Figuring out podcasts!
  • Being inspired by Paula Must Try Harder and Laura Try
  • The next challenge for 2019
  • Wanting to get back into racing and having a goal
  • What is Cyclo-cross?
  • Getting excited to race again!
  • Knowing it is ok to come in last
  • Trying to have fun
  • Working with a personal trainer and starting to lift weights
  • Advice and tips for other women
  • Why you should just do it!


*You can listen to the Tough Girl Podcast on the go via iTunes, Soundcloud & Stitcher!



Aug 13, 2019

Joyce was born in 1984, during the Lebanese Civil War in Beirut. While growing up, Joyce didn’t get to spend time outdoors in nature or in the mountains, her childhood was traumatic, living in a war zone and having to flee her family home to escape the bombings. 

Her love of sports and the outdoors came later on when she was a teenager. A friend invited her to go hiking and that experience of going outside and climbing mountains changed her. Through the challenges of the mountains,  she has found her strength, they have made her stronger, they have become her mentors. 

She has gone on to climb mountains all over the world and has become the first Lebanese women to climb the 7 highest summits on the 7 continents. During this podcast, Joyce, will share more of her journey, the passion, the challenges, the set backs she has had to overcome and what she has learned on the journey. She also shares more about her motivations and why she continues to dream big.

“Mountains are my mentors, they have changed me, and they have made me stronger.”    

Show notes

  • Living in Beirut
  • Growing up during the War
  • Coming from a modest family
  • Getting a good education and deciding to study Architecture 
  • Winning a scholarship to do her Masters in Italy
  • Getting her PhD
  • Her love of the mountains
  • Learning new skills and getting to love nature
  • Starting her 7 summit journey with Mt. Elbrus
  • Having to pause her 7 summits challenge  while she pursued her PhD
  • Deciding to complete the remaining 4 summits
  • Not being able to summit Aconcagua in Argentina and deciding to abort the summit attempt
  • Making hard decisions in the mountains
  • Climbing Kilimanjaro next
  • Going back to Aconcagua in 2017 and summiting
  • Spending over a year getting the fundraising to complete the next mountains
  • Struggling with moments of doubt 
  • Her angels and support system
  • How she is seen in Lebanon, and what her family and friends think about her ambitions to climb mountains
  • Breaking stereotypes and encouraging more women to climb
  • Raha Moharrak and being the youngest Arab women to climb the 7 summits 
  • What she has learnt from climbing the mountains  and why the mountains are her mentors
  • What climbing in Lebanon is like and how it prepared her for climbing mountains
  • Learning to trust her gut and going after her dreams
  • Getting the sponsorship and making it happen
  • #YESYOUCAN where is started from and how it evolved over time 
  • Sharing and promoting children’s dreams and why it was so important for her
  • Why the 7 summits isn’t the end!
  • Being ambitious and having big goals
  • Going after the LONG DISTANCE Explorers Grand Slam!
  • Recovering from Everest and training for her next challenge
  • Working full time while doing challenges
  • Dealing with the cold!
  • Using the Wim Hoff training method  
  • Her mantra….Her motto
  • Choosing what makes her happy and why it is your responsibility for your happiness
  • Advice for other women
  • Why the WHY is so important 
  • Being a one woman show and doing it all herself

Social Media

Website - 

Instagram - @joyceazzam7s 


Aug 8, 2019

Ellie Blake - Her journey to Ironman Wales! 

Ellie started listening to the Tough Girl Podcast back when it started in 2015 at what was a particularly low point in her life. She was feeling lost having just failed to get into medical school for the 3rd time, she became a shell of herself and spiralled into depression. 

Ellie was inspired by listening to the Sophie Radcliffe episode on her way to work one morning and just kept thinking wow!  Since then she has listened religiously on commutes, during training and planned new adventures 

“I truly believe this podcast gave me the confidence to make changes in my life and to have a little faith that it’s ok not to have everything figured out.”

Ellie has gone on to complete, her first, Sprint triathlon, half marathon, Marathon, 2 ultra-marathons and is currently training for Ironman Wales!

Show notes

  • 27 from Wiltshire 
  • Studying for her Masters in Aberdeen
  • Being half way through a career change
  • Training for Ironman Wales
  • Having a passion for cycling
  • Starting to listen to the tough girl podcast back in 2015
  • Trying to get into Medical School 
  • Feeling a bit lost and not knowing what she wanted to do with her life
  • Dealing with depression
  • Moving back in with her parents
  • Next steps forward
  • Starting with a private counsellor
  • Getting back into sport 
  • Spending all her time studying
  • Stopping doing everything she enjoys
  • Getting back into running
  • Summer of 2016 doing a sprint triathlon
  • Trying to figure out what she wanted to do
  • Taking a step backwards
  • Doing a half marathon, a marathon and an ultra marathon in 2017
  • The importance of having a goal
  • Why you have to enjoy your challenges!
  • Doing the 100K Race to the Stones and wanting to do it in one day!
  • Being inspired by Sophie Radcliffe and her Alpine Coast to Coast Challenge
  • Quitting her job to go travelling in Asia
  • Enjoying her new course and studying again
  • Working with a coach for Ironman Wales
  • What advice would she have liked to hear?
  • Having more balance in her life?

Meg Saunders - Hiking the Inca Trail and signing up for a marathon!

“I’m inspired to travel to experience as much of the world and its cultures and landscapes as possible. After completing the Inca Trail last year in memory of my dad, I literally feel unstoppable. Tough Girl has given me the motivation and realisation that I can complete so much more than I thought!”

Show notes

  • Living in Devon by the sea!
  • 29 years old, working as a graphic designer
  • How sports and the outdoors were not a part of her life
  • Starting to get into running
  • Losing her dad in 2016
  • Wanting to raise money for the hospice 
  • Signing up to the Inca Trail
  • Having a year to train and prepare
  • Heading over to South America and being terrified
  • Dealing with stomach issues
  • The biggest challenge on the trip - Day 2 - Dead Women’s Pass
  • Keeping motivated
  • Arriving at the Sungate into Machu Picchu
  • What happened when she got back home
  • Never listening to podcasts!
  • Trekfest
  • Adventure buddies
  • Signing up for the London Marathon
  • Advice and tips for women and girls who want more adventure in their life
  • Mental tips to keep going
  • Being inspired by Mirna Valerio
  • Follow her blog  -
  • Feeling proud of herself


Ali Mahoney-Johnson - NEW BOOK - Two Wheels to Chamonix!!!

Show notes

  • Riding to Chamonix
  • How it all started 
  • How the Tough Girl Podcast helped to inspire Ali
  • Writing a book about her adventure
  • Getting support from twitter
  • What can you expect from the book!
  • Informative, educational and heat-warming 
  • The What If method
  • Doing pro-active coping
  • What she has leant most from the process of doing the challenge and writing a book about the challenge
  • Setting up a new blog about travel and adventure

Social Media

Website -

Facebook @themahojos 

Instagram @themahojos  


Aug 6, 2019

Dr. Tamie J. Jovanelly is an Associate Professor of Geology at Berry College. Classically trained as a hydrologist, she has completed water quality assessments on five continents to make comparisons between developed, undeveloped, and developing countries and their relationships to local watersheds. 

Tamie grew up in Detroit in a working class family that had little ambition to go anywhere. Her brother ignited her spirit of adventure at the age of 10 by taking her for rides on the back of his motorcycle. By getting to explore the local area this encouraged and inspired Tamie to dream of travelling further afield. She accomplished this by pursing a career in academics, with a focus on Geology. Tamie has gone on to lead and run research expeditions all over the world.

Tamie’s first venture to Iceland was in 2006 when Iceland was still off the radar of most tourists. With the keys to a Toyota Yaris and a series of paper road maps, she and her older brother circled the island in 11 days. Over the course of the next decade she would visit nearly every summer, bringing with her keen undergraduate students who could keep up with the hiking!

Tamie has been told on several occasions by various people at different stages of her career that she doesn’t fit the mould of a scientist. However, this negatively doesn’t stop Tamie from going after her goals and following her passions. She lives by the mantra - Winners Do More. During this podcast, Tamie will share more about her career, the challenges she has faced, how she plans and why she breaks her life down into 6 months sections.

Tamie has recently authored the book:  Understanding the land of fire and ice: A geologist explains Iceland 

Show notes


  • Growing up in Detroit
  • Getting her first globe and wanting to travel
  • How her brother ignited her spirit of adventure at the age of 10 by taking her for rides on the back of his motorcycle
  • Knowing she wanted to be an international researcher
  • Having the opportunity to study in Japan
  • Leading study abroad trips for students
  • What she learned from spending 9 months in Japan
  • Thinking big picture to start 
  • The different types of expeditions
  • What life is like in the field
  • Her Mantra - “Winners Do More”
  • How she plans her life
  • 7 habits of highly effective people
  • Having a mission statement 
  • Setting 6 month goals
  • Planning 5 years out
  • Deciding to write a book
  • Her love and passion for Iceland
  • Running her first marathon
  • Advice and tips for women who want to be more adventurous

Social Media

Website -

Aug 4, 2019

Shamila grew up in Afghanistan under Taliban rule where she was deprived of an education and confined to her home. While Shamila and her family knew there were severe consequences for families who taught their daughters how to read and write, their dedication and belief in the importance of education overcame their fears, and Shamila studied in secret.

Shortly after the Taliban were removed from power, Shamila began to play football (soccer), a sport that in the country is male-dominated and socially taboo for women. Shamila, found her passion and playing football gave her the freedom and courage to come out of her comfort zone and to fight for what she believed in. 

Shamila found her voice and began to fight for women’s rights. With the help of the Afghan Football Federation, she worked to establish the first Afghan Women’s National Football Team in 2007. Shamila was proudly named Captain of the Women’s National Football Team and has said, “Soccer provided me with the opportunity for an education and connected me to other women around the world who are fighting for gender equality and the advancement of women's athletics”. Shamila’s goal has been to inspire and empower all women, she believes that football and other sports unite people from different backgrounds, and promote gender equality.

Show notes

  • Her love of football and where it came from 
  • Coming from a family of 7 women (only 1 brother)
  • Growing up in Afghanistan
  • Having limited opportunities and not being able to go to school
  • Wanting to do something that had never been done
  • Fighting against gender norms
  • Doing the stuff she wasn't meant to do 
  • Growing up during the fall of the Taliban
  • Starting to get an education and missing 5 years of school
  • Going back to school in 2001 and why it was so important to her
  • Helping to establish the first national football team
  • Going to the football federation
  • Dealing with the challenges and obstacles put in her way
  • Playing for the national team for 2 years
  • Wanting to go to school in America 
  • Having to leave Afghanistan due to security concerns
  • Getting to visit her parents
  • Being away from home for 11 years
  • Working out religiously and why it is so important to her
  • Being captain of the National Team and what was involved
  • Women's sports not being taken seriously
  • What can we do to help and support
  • Watching the Women’s World Cup 
  • Her role models
  • Her vision for the future and what she wants to see for women
  • Advice and tips for women who are in a challenging situation
  • Why complaining isn’t worth it

Social Media

Website -

Twitter -  @Sham_Kohestani   

Instagram  @shamila_kohestani

Aug 4, 2019

Mel lives a life of adventure and is inspiring others to believe that anything is possible.

Mel was a fit and healthy young woman, who loved to get outside, go running and ride bikes, while caring for her horses. After a series of life changing strokes Mel’s life was turned upside down, she was unable to walk and after her third stroke in 2008, struggled to use much of the left side of her body.

Fast forward four years after watching the Beijing Paralympics from her hospital bed, Mel was racing in front of 80,000 people at the London 2012 Paralympics. At this point, Mel had only been involved in the sport for 15 months.

Mel went on to represent Team GB for the next 4 years, where she achieving track world records, European and World major medal success.

At the end of 2016 Mel made the move from track racing, to endurance and road racing. She has found her new passion, hand cycling.

Mel has gone on to break the 2 hour time barrier in the London Marathon, and has recently smashed both the men and women’s  LEJOG World record - hand cycling 874 miles in 6 days, 22 hours and 18 mins! 

Show notes

  • What life was like growing up 
  • Her love for horses and being outside
  • Wanting to be a vet and marry a farmer
  • Leaving school at 16
  • Having her first stroke in 2002
  • Trying to figure out what caused it
  • Dealing with the uncertainty 
  • Having her 3rd stroke 
  • Not being able to walk any more and having to spend a lot of time in the stoke unit
  • Watching the Paralympics 
  • Getting back into sports and fitness and why it was so important
  • Trying wheel chair racing for the first time and getting a coach
  • Her dream of being selected for the Great British Team for the London 2012 Olympics
  • Now what?!
  • Dealing with a crisis of confidence
  • Why she prefers the longer distances to sprints
  • What is was like racing at the 2012 London Olympic games
  • Racing in the London Marathon and why she loves it - Plus getting a PB
  • Having to wait for heart surgery 
  • Upper body strength and training in the gym
  • How Handcycle Britain - LEGOG - World Record Attempt came about
  • How hand cycling has become her career
  • Her mental performance mindset and using that during the challenge
  • Smashing the record -  6 days, 22 hours and 18 mins!!
  • What a typical day was like and planning to cycle for 10 hours a day
  • Dealing with the challenging race conditions
  • Starting to think about her next challenge!
  • Getting off road on her bike
  • The cost of handbikes 
  • Quick Fire Questions

Social Media

Website - 

Instagram @teamdolly  

Twitter @Dolly2racer 

Facebook  - 


Aug 4, 2019

Paula has had a passion for running every since she was young, she was inspired by her father to take up running and joined her first running club when she was 9 years old and she hasn’t stopped, apart from when dealing with injury. 

Paula is a British long-distance runner, who has dominated at the marathon distance - 26.2 miles. She has won the London Marathon and New York Marathon three- times, as well as winning the 2002 Chicago Marathon. In 2003, Paula ran the fastest female marathon of all time at the London Marathon. A record breaking time of 2 hrs, 15 mins and 25 seconds. This record still stands today. 

I got to meet Paula at RunFestRun where I heard her talk about her career the ups and the downs and what she’s learnt along the way. I know her story will inspire others, I’m so pleased Paula has come on the Tough Girl Podcast on the 4th year anniversary to share more about her career, why she loves running, her training tactics, mental strategy as well as sharing more about her life now after becoming a mother and after retiring from professional running. 

Show notes

  • What life was like growing up
  • When running started to become more serious
  • Joining her first running club at 9 years old
  • Having fun with her running 
  • Heading off to University 
  • Wanting to see if she could make it as a full time athlete
  • Not having to get a proper job until her 40s
  • Who her role models were growing up 
  • Pushing her body hard and competing against herself
  • Dealing with injury and not being able to run
  • Why the marathon is her favourite race
  • Running according to “feel”
  • Race strategies and tactics for the marathon
  • If you have a gap in a race you have to exploit it
  • Her pain levels and pain threshold 
  • The highs and lows of 2003 from setting the record to being injured and not being able to walk
  • The long term plan for the Athens Olympics in 2004
  • Hitting the wall at the Athens Olympics 
  • Accepting what happened and moving forward
  • Wanting to end the Olympic curse…
  • Falling out of love with running
  • What it was like running the fasting marathon time in London
  • Period during training and races
  • Starting to think about retiring from running and why the decision was made for her
  • Wanting to retire on her own terms in 2015
  • Never getting to do an ultra
  • Having children and how her life changed
  • Running through her pregnancy
  • School sports day!
  • What running looks like now
  • Tips and advice for women who want to get into running
  • Families on Track
  • Being Paula Radcliffe and what she does now!
  • Quick Fire Questions

Social Media

Website - 

Instagram @paula_radcliffe   

Twitter @paulajradcliffe 


Aug 4, 2019

I set up Tough Girl Challenges in 2014 as a way of motivating and inspiring women and girls.

I host the Tough Girl Podcast where I interview inspirational female explorers, adventurers, athletes and everyday women who have overcome great challenges. The podcast is listened to in 174 countries around the world and has passed 850,000 downloads. The podcast is in the top 15% of podcasts globally and has a unique focus on women who do adventures and undertake big physical challenges.  

I completed the Marathon des Sables in April 2016 (6 marathons in 6 days across the Sahara Desert), in 2017 I thru hiked the Appalachian Trail solo and unsupported (2,190 miles) in 100 days (which I also daily vlogged)! In 2018 I cycled over 4,000 km from Vancouver, Canada via the Pacific Coast Highway to Cabo San Lucas in Mexico. 

I have a Masters in Women & Gender Studies (2018), with my dissertation focusing on women, adventure and fear. I am also a qualified Yoga Instructor & Personal Trainer (2019). I am now based back in the UK and am looking for my next challenge and adventure!

Show notes

  • Plans for the episode
  • Having a normal job for 8 years
  • How Tough Girl Challenges came about
  • Moving back in with my parents
  • 2015 - the start of the Tough Girl Podcast
  • Doing the Marathon des Sables in 2016
  • The Appalachian Trail in 2017
  • Starting my Masters in October in 2017
  • Dissertation on Women, Adventure & Fear
  • Having a busy 2018
  • Spending time with my family in Australia
  • Reflections on 2016 and goals for 2017
  • Reflections on 2017 and goals for 2018
  • Having the adventure blues 
  • Reflections on 2018 
  • Keeping my brain stimulated
  • The start of 2019
  • Wanting to take some time off social media
  • How the yoga wasn’t what I was expecting
  • April 2019 and still being tired
  • Yoga Nidra and Yin Yoga
  • Not having a plan and not knowing what I’m doing next
  • Becoming a personal trainer - 4 week intensive course
  • The 4th Year Anniversary 
  • Wanting to double down and speak to more women for the Tough Girl Podcast
  • Being interviewed by Lily Dyu for her book (See page 73)
  • Being in an academic text book
  • Answering questions from the Tough Girl Tribe!
  • What are your future goals
  • Hitting 1 Million downloads
  • Creating a massive resource for women and girls
  • Catching up with previous guests for Tough Girl Extra
  • My long term goal of getting a PHD - Dprof
  • The Tough Girl Podcast made me do it!
  • How do I find guests?
  • How do I decide the podcast order
  • Where did I expect to be in 4 years
  • Learning patience
  • Quick Fire Questions
  • Next challenge


On the 4th August 2019 the Tough Girl Podcast will be celebrating it’s 4 year anniversary! To mark the occasion in style I’ve decided to release 4 special episodes on the Sunday!!

7 am - Sarah Williams - Solo episode, reflecting back on 2018, the start of 2019 and answering questions from the tribe!

10 am - Paula Radcliffe MBE - fastest female marathoner of all time!

1pm - Mel Nicholls - Paralympian, Endurance and Adventure Athlete, Handcycle LEJOG World Record Holder.

4 pm - Shamila Kohestani - Former captain of the Afghan Women's soccer team.


Throughout the rest of August, we will have our regular Tough Girl Tuesday episodes coming out.

6th Aug - Dr. Tamie Jovanelly - World Explorer, focusing on major river systems including the Nile, Amazon, Mississippi, & Ganges.

13th Aug - Dr. Joyce Azzam - First Lebanese women to climb the 7 Summits & going after the Explorers Grand Slam!

20th Aug - Monika Sattler - Management Consultant turned World Record Holder - 1st Women to cycle the Vuelta a España - 3,058km with 49,337m of climbing!

27th Aug - Wendy Searle - Attempting to break the women's speed record for solo expedition to the South Pole, November 2019.

Plus - I will be catching up with members of the Tough Girl Tribe - for Tough Girl Extra who will be sharing more about how the tough girl podcast has changed their life! They will share the episodes that stand out for them, they will share more about their own journeys and what the tough girl podcast has inspired them to do!

Aug 1, 2019

Currently there is no Tour De France for women so a women’s team called the ‘InternationElles’ decided to cycle the whole course but start a day before the men’s race in order to raise awareness about this inequality.

The InternationElles team are riding each day alongside female team Donnons Des Elles Au Vélo J-1 - the French group of riders who launched the riding challenge five years ago and have continued every year since. This year, the teams are hoping their new collective power will send a clear message to the sporting world - to give women’s cycling the equal opportunities it deserves.

Pippa was part of this international team of women who set out to show the world why women should be a part of races like this. In this podcast we catch up with Pippa who shares more about joining the team, the planning and preparation before and during the race - the 2019 Tour route will be the most mountainous in the event’s 106-year history. And unlike the men, the female teams will have to cycle alongside cars and other vehicles that wouldn't ordinarily be permitted during the official tour. 

Pippa shares more about her love of being in the mountains and what the magical moments where while out riding. Pippa gives us an incite into life on the road during the tour from Brussels to Paris,  21 stage, 3,460kms as part of an all women team of 10.  

Show notes

  • Learning more about Pippa
  • Cycling the Tour de France - a day before the men!
  • What is the Tour de France
  • Why this challenge is so important for women
  • 21stage race, starting in Brussels and fishing in Paris
  • The InternationElles cycling team and fighting for equality
  • Who is behind the InternationElles and how she became a part of the team
  • The logistical nightmare of the race
  • riding with 23 women to fight for equality
  • Being in Brussels before the start of the race
  • Dealing with the nerves before the race
  • Getting into a proper routine while on the road
  • Hitting the mountains and loving climbing especially in Stage 6 of the Tour
  • Getting to Paris and completing the journey!
  • The last day in the mountains and the challenges they dealt with 
  • Wanting to cross the line together as a team
  • Dealing with weather challenges
  • How her body coped with the physical demands
  • The mental side of the challenge
  • Team work and what her role was
  • Rest and recovery routines
  • Having no time and having to focus on the practical things
  • What Pippa would have done differently if she did it again
  • The press, and the support for equality
  • The Tour de France and the group they have set up to launch a women’s event
  • Why as individuals we cal alls do something
  • What’s next for Pippa
  • How her family supported on the tour
  • Being away from her son
  • A documentary? A film?
  • This is our time - advert
  • Final words of advice and why you need to believe in yourself


Throughout the rest of August, we will have our regular Tough Girl Tuesday episodes coming out.

6th Aug - Dr. Tamie Jovanelly - World Explorer, focusing on major river systems including the Nile, Amazon, Mississippi, & Ganges.

13th Aug - Dr. Joyce Azzam - First Lebanese women to climb the 7 Summits & going after the Explorers Grand Slam!

20th Aug - Monika Sattler - Management Consultant turned World Record Holder - 1st Women to cycle the Vuelta a España - 3,058km with 49,337m of climbing!

27th Aug - Wendy Searle - Attempting to break the women's speed record for solo expedition to the South Pole, November 2019.

Plus - I will be catching up with members of the Tough Girl Tribe - for Tough Girl Extra who will be sharing more about how the tough girl podcast has changed their life! They will share the episodes that stand out for them, they will share more about their own journeys and what the tough girl podcast has inspired them to do!