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, 2022
Aug 30, 2022
About Sabrina
Sabrina Pace-Humphreys is a 44-year-old mother of 4 and grandmother of 3, an award-winning businesswoman, an ultrarunner, a social justice activist and a recovering alcoholic.

She is a mixed-raced woman, the daughter of a white Scottish Roman Catholic woman and a Black man. 
In July 2020 she co-founded the fast-growing community and campaigning charity, Black Trail Runners, and is also a well-known ultra-marathon runner. She finished the 'toughest footrace on earth', a 250km multi-stage marathon across the Sahara Desert known as the Marathon des Sables, as 10th UK woman and most recently she completed the Spine Race, a non-stop 268 miles race down the Pennine Way. 
Sabrina is the author of Black Sheep: A Story of Rural Racism, Identity and Hope

“In Black Sheep, Sabrina reveals how she got from there to here: about growing up in a home, a school and a town where no-one looked like her and her subsequent struggle to understand and find her identity; about her lived experience of rural racism; about becoming a teenage mother and her determination to break that stereotype; about her battle with alcoholism and her mental health; about how running saved her life; and ultimately about how someone can not only survive but thrive in spite of their past.

Sabrina's experience will chime with anyone who has felt like an outsider. Poignant and eye-opening, and exploring themes of trauma, identity, mental health and addiction, Black Sheep is a tale of triumph: of grit and determination, of hope over despair.”
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Show Notes
  • Who is Sabrina
  • Previously chatting on the TGP - July 7th 2020
  • What was happening in late 2020
  • Launching Black Trail Runners (BTR) in July 2020
  • Black Trail Runners - writing an open letter to race organisers 
  • Taking about the issues and the lack of diversity in trail runners
  • Moving house, welcoming a new grandchild, running the Ramsey Round
  • Doing the 3 peaks challenge and seeing me at the top of Ben Nevis (Watch the vlog)
  • Building the community of Black Trail Runners and the impact 
  • Having the uncomfortable conversations
  • Collecting ethnicity data
  • Having a BTR race fund 
  • Taking real action and breaking down the barriers
  • Running the 4.5% challenge in 2021
  • Working with youth groups
  • Coping with the mental and emotional pressure
  • Running and mental health
  • Running as a form at activism
  • Understanding her why of running the Spine Race
  • The Spine Race 
  • Working with her running coach Damien Hall
  • Figuring out her race strategy and how her race goals changed over time
  • Focusing on the “B” goal - completing the race
  • Focusing on 10k stretches and reaching certain views 
  • Keeping in the moment and not thinking about the full distance
  • Struggling with sleep deprivation and figuring out a new sleep strategy
  • The power of sleep and needing 30 mins of sleep at every checkpoint
  • Dealing with food pain and having to implement a pain management strategy
  • Training for the Spine Race and what a typical week looked life
  • Doing more back to back training runs and weighted runs
  • Winning her first ultra marathon! 
  • Kissing a wall
  • The lessons learned from running the Spine Race
  • “You can do hard things - you can do this”
  • Being on the June cover of Women’s Running UK 
  • Book: Black Sheep: A Story of Rural Racism, Identity and Hope.
  • Black to the trails - 11th September 2022 - The FIRST trail running event designed, directed and run by Black Trail Runners for Black people, people of colour, and White allies who want to do their bit to diversify the UK trail running scene. 
  • The vision board and hopes for the future
  • Wanting to participate in the UTMB Race
  • Wanting to write a second book about running
Social Media
Instagram: @sabrunsmiles
Twitter: @sabrunsmiles
Black Trail Runners - A community and campaigning charity seeking to increase inclusion, participation and representation of Black people in trail running.
Community and campaigning charity. Registered in England and Wales, No. 1194094.
Black Trail Runners: 
Black to the Trails: 
Twitter: @RunnersBlack 
The Check Point Podcast 
A podcast hosted by Black Trail Runners which discusses access to, skills for and representation of Black people who want to experience, or are experienced in, trail running. Featuring tips, tricks, events, guest interviews and much more.
Aug 23, 2022
Sophie has spent the past 2 years trying to raise awareness of open water swimmers with disabilities in the hope that more people will become inclusive and accepting to people of all abilities. 
She has also spent the past year building a community of athletes with disabilities through her ADOWS Facebook group which now has over 600 people in it. 
Members include those with all sorts of disabilities from people with invisible conditions such as Fibromyalgia and brain injuries to those with visual impairments and amputees. There are also coaches, event organisers and carers in the group so that they can learn the best way to support and include those with disabilities within their work. 
Since starting the group Sophie has worked with The Henley Swim Company and The British Long Distance Swimming Association to help them improve accessibility at their events.
Sophie grew up in Hastings and was an active, fully able-bodied swimmer but in 2011 she was involved in a cycling accident, which resulted in a long diagnostic process before finally being diagnosed with Complex Regional Pain Syndrome; one of the most painful conditions in the world in late 2012. 

Suddenly finding herself struggling to walk and in constant pain was tough. She struggled with being constantly exhausted and to put the cherry on the top; due to hypersensitivity she was unable to wear trousers or leave the house if it was windy because it was too painful for her.
Triathlete to wheelchair user in under a year.
It took several years of struggling with different medications, physiotherapy appointments, hospital stays and falling into a deep depression before she was sent onto a pain management programme. The course was intensive for 3 weeks but in total lasted a year and it was as a result of this course that Sophie rediscovered her love of the water. 
It wasn’t an easy journey back into the water because anything on her legs hurt – including water! 
It was about 6 months before she could get in the local leisure centre pool and start swimming again but as soon as she did she knew it was where she was meant to be.
Since then (2016) she has gone on to not only get back into open water swimming but has taken on some huge swims including The Great East Swim 1 mile (2016) and 5km (2019), The Thames Marathon Swim (2018), 10km in lake Tallyn in Wales (2019), the Swim England Open Water National Championships (2019) and finally, in September 2021 Two Way Windermere, which she completed in 16 hours and 41 minutes!
New episodes of the Tough Girl Podcast go live every Tuesday at 7am UK time - Make sure to subscribe so you don’t miss out. 
To support the mission to increase the amount of female role models in the media. Sign up as a Patron - Thank you. 
Show Notes
  • Who is Sophie
  • Growing up in Hastings
  • How she got into swimming
  • Doing her first 5k at the age of 11
  • Being disqualified from her first swimming gala
  • Playing music in an orchestra
  • Wanting to be a sports physiotherapist
  • Choosing between music and sports or physical education
  • Being diagnosed with epilepsy as a child
  • Playing clarinet and piano as her way to relax
  • Studying music at Anglia Ruskin University Cambridge
  • Going to university and swimming at the same time
  • Joining a local triathlon club
  • Before and after the accident
  • Being diagnosed with Complex regional pain syndrome (CRPS)
  • Being on her own while in the middle of her degree
  • From being active to absolutely nothing
  • Feeling all her plans are out of reach
  • Being away from her family
  • Experiencing bullying at university
  • Feeling lost for about five years
  • Being put on a pain management program at Addenbrooke's Hospital in Cambridge
  • Getting back into the water and tolerating the pain
  • Falling in love with swimming again
  • Wanting to be a swimming coach again
  • Getting her level two open water coaching qualification
  • Getting help from Straight Line Swimming run by Keri-anne Payne
  • Feeling herself again after 8 years
  • Campaigning for disabled swimmers
  • Creating the community Adaptive/Disabled Open Water Swimmers (ADOWS)
  • Magical moments for her when it comes to swimming
  • Making so many new friends through swimming
  • Doing the Aberdovey Swim in 2019
  • Her plans to do the Two-Way Windermere (2WW) in 2020
  • Using Windermere swim to raise awareness and fundraise for a disability sports charity The Arctic One
  • Having surgery before her two-way swim
  • Pushing through the challenge
  • Her whole experience while doing the Windermere swim
  • Her top tips and advice
Social Media
Instagram @sophie_adaptive_athlete 
Facebook @SEasaptiveathlete 
ADOWS (Adaptive/Disabled Open Water Swimmers) Facebook group 
Aug 16, 2022
Meaghan is a Canadian writer and ultra-endurance cyclist whose two-wheeled adventures have taken her from Haida Gwaii to Mexico’s high plateaus, across Canada and the United States, and from North Cape to Tarifa along some of Europe’s highest paved roads. 
She is a Trans Am Bike Race, NorthCape4000, and Paris-Brest-Paris brevet finisher, as well as the 2019 24-Hour World Time Trial Champion and current course record holder in the women’s division. 
In 2021, Meaghan took the overall win in the 2021 BC Epic 1000 and landed on the podium of the Alberta-Rockies 700. 
Her debut travel memoir, "South Away: The Pacific Coast on Two Wheels" (NeWest Press, 2019) was shortlisted for a two Canadian book awards. 
New episodes of the Tough Girl Podcast go live every Tuesday at 7am UK time - Subscribe so you don’t miss out. 
To support the mission to increase the amount of female role models in the media visit Thank you. 
Show Notes
  • Who is Meaghan
  • Living in British Colombia, Canada
  • Being on a journey of self discovery
  • Her love of sports and competing 
  • Being into sports from a young age
  • Her love of full contact sports 
  • Discovering more solo sports and getting into long distance cycling
  • Structuring her life around the things that she loves
  • The women who have inspired Meaghan
  • Being inspired by Lael Wilcox 
  • Taking on the Trans Am Bike Race across America 2017 
  • Having the courage to sign up for the race
  • Training and getting strong for spending long days on the bike
  • Getting her first Bivvy bag
  • Getting prepared for the race
  • Mental resilience and mental grit and the new lessons that have been learned
  • Having fears and insecurities and being worried about the race
  • Why showing up to the start line is a massive win
  • Taking the pressure off and focusing on the fun
  • Book: How bad do you want it?: Mastering the Psychology of Mind Over Muscle By Matt Fitzgerald 
  • Building up her own toolkit of resilience tips and tricks
  • Dealing with sleep deprivation
  • The balance between suffering and having fun
  • How her training has evolved over the years
  • Investing in an indoor smart trainer (Wahoo Kickr)
  • Focusing on short intense indoor rides and long rides outside
  • How many bikes?!
  • Rest and recovery and injury prevention 
  • Getting into a good routine
  • North Cape 4000 Race 
  • Setting goals and having a race strategy around sleeping for 4hrs each night
  • Food and nutrition while on the bike
  • Advice for women who want to sign up for a new challenge
  • Having people around you who support you
  • Magical moments and feelings of joy while cycling
  • Connect with Meaghan 
  • Writing her book: South Away: The Pacific Coast on Two Wheels
  • Plans for 2022
  • Her aim of being - consistently consistent 
Social Media
Instagram @meaghanhackinen 
Facebook @meaghanhackinen 
Book: South Away: The Pacific Coast on Two Wheels 
*Shortlisted for the Sixth Annual Rakuten Kobo Emerging Writer Prize - Nonfiction Category & Shortlisted for Best Trade Non-Fiction at the 2020 Book Publishing Awards!
Aug 9, 2022
Tayo is The Five to Nine Traveller who believes life is more than your 9 to 5. As an adventuring enthusiast she is always on the hunt for adventure both local & global and loves to share her stories to inspire the same in you! 
She truly believes adventure is what you make it so you can find her hiking up some mountain or discovering the latest immersive cultural experience in the city.
Tayo in her own words:
My name is Tayo and I am just a regular gal with a job (oh the inconvenience) who exhibits off the scale delight when she travels and explores!  I love travelling as it appeals to my inner childhood of being an explorer and finding something new in my surroundings, be it in the city I live or a new destination.  As a child I was an avid reader of The Famous Five by Enid Blyton who were always on adventures and I was always exploring around the estate where I grew up.  
Travelling for me is a collection of interactions, memories and personal development, and tells me more about the world I live in.  Some of my most vivid memories from travelling are moments I reflect on and smile, like seeing the gorgeous sunsets over Oxford city to meeting Frank in Cuba who kindly gave me a hat made of local leaves (which I still have to this day and use for fancy dress!)
Blogging is my outlet to share my eclectic narratives and photos of the beautiful world I get to see, packed full of adventure!  The main thing  though is that I hope it inspires you to go out there and have an adventure even with your 9 to 5!
Not all travels have to be in far flung exotic places
(although that is fun too!)
And who says who have to jack it all in to travel?
That’s what makes me The 5 to 9 Traveller!
New episodes of the Tough Girl Podcast go live every Tuesday at 7am UK time - Hit the subscribe button so you don’t miss out. 
You can support the mission to increase the amount of female role models in the media. By visiting .Thank you.
Show notes
  • Who is Tayo
  • Working as a pharmacist 
  • Growing up in Newcastle
  • Her early years
  • Being connected to her Nigerian heritage 
  • Learning more about her family history 
  • Being a curious child
  • Heading back to visit Nigeria 
  • Not taking a gap year after school
  • Deciding to start her blog at the end of 2015
  • Being inspired by Travel Noire
  • Not really knowing what blogs were
  • Not telling anyone about her blog
  • Using her blog as a creative outlet
  • What adventure means to Tayo 
  • Being willing to have her mind opened to the new around her
  • Deciding on where to go travelling 
  • Spending time in South Africa and Brazil
  • Having a wanderlist
  • Traveling solo and travelling with other people
  • Doing a summer placement in America
  • 2019 spending time in South America
  • Making the decision to go travelling 
  • Telling her parents about her trip
  • Making sure she had a reason to come back
  • Wanting to learn Spanish 
  • Need to get the balance between adventure and routine
  • Making changes to hair
  • Travelling on buses in South America
  • Visiting Machu Picchu 
  • Dealing with Covid 
  • Loving travelling and loving to learn 
  • How to connect with Tayo
  • Final words of advice 
  • Making time for travel
  • The joy of starting off small and staying local.
Social Media
Instagram: @the5to9traveller 
Twitter: @5to9traveller 
Facebook: The Five to Nine Traveller 
Aug 4, 2022
During this episode, I reflect back on the final 6 months of 2021 and the beginning of 2022.
I really enjoy doing the solo reflection episodes as it is an opportunity to look back on what's been achieved and where we currently are at the moment with regards to the Tough Girl Podcast, what I'm doing personally and where I expect to see the business go over the following 6 to 12 months. 
It also gives me an opportunity to answer any questions that patrons or members of the Tough Girl Tribe have.
During this episode I talk more about the Wales Coast Path and go into detail about money. How I afford to travel and go on adventures.
I also share more about my future plans which will be taking place in 2022 and what I hope will happen in 2023 
I hope you enjoy this episode. New episodes of the Tough Girl Podcast go live every Tuesday at 7am UK time - Hit the subscribe button so you don’t miss out. 
Support the mission to increase the amount of female role models in the media especially in relation to adventure and physical challenges. Visit and subscribe - super quick and easy to do and it makes a massive difference. Thank you.
Show notes
  • Welcome to the episode
  • What this episode is about
  • Where I am at the moment
  • What you can expect
  • Why I do these episodes 
  • Bringing you on the journey with me
  • Being committed to the journey
  • What’s been going on
  • Stats from the Tough Girl Podcast - Aug 2021
  • October 2021 - 28,000 downloads
  • What am I doing wrong, how can I improve
  • 2021 - Average of 45k - 50k per month
  • January 2022 - 90,753 downloads in 1 month
  • 2022 - Average of 77K per month
  • Hitting 2 million downloads 2nd Feb 2022
  • Working with Playstation and Glamour Magazine
  • What happened in March 2022 - Inov-8 and the March Daily Mile challenge, Sky Sports - International Women’s Day
  • New challenge with cicerone - Wales Coast Path in 2022 in 50 days
  • Having a structure and having a plan 
  • What happened in Aug 2021 - December 2021
  • Reflecting back on the Tough Girl UK Adventure Series 
  • Celebrating my 40th Birthday and visiting the tough girl mural in Liverpool
  • Special Birthday episode with Zoe Langley Wathern - Why so many women are scared to adventure and recognising our female role models with Sarah Williams  
  • Doing the Great Glen Way in a day - 77 miles in 2 days
  • 40 miles to celebrate my 40th - Youtube vlog - 
  • Figuring out how to edit my adventures vlogs and working with a new editor
  • Finding an editor - splitting the Tough Girl Youtube Revenue Split
  • Working with Sharon in New Zealand - @freewheelingkiwi 
  • Working with Georgia in Scotland @georgia.mercedes and Katy from the UK @tinytealtrekker
  • Wanting to walk the PCT and vlog it at the same time. Trying to figuring out how to do it….
  • Oct/Nov/Dec 2021 - Recording and editing podcasts 
  • Christmas 2021 and getting covid.
  • March 2022 - Sports Podcasts Awards - Winner Best Urban and Adventure Podcast 2022 - winner by public vote
  • Outdoor Expo in Birmingham - highly recommend
  • Walking with Arry Berresford Webb on the first day of the Wales Coast Path - starting in Chester
  • Where are the public toilet in Chester?!
  • Question from Dan re the Wales Coast Path
  • Climbing Aconcagua January 2013
  • The Altitude Centre London - Mountaineering Consultation
  • What do I want to do for the next 6 months - not having any plans 
  • Not having a plan and feeling unsettled
  • Dealing with uncertainty and focusing on fitness
  • Having a nephew in November - spending 3/4 months in Australia
  • Working with Inov-8 in 2023 #MarchDailyMile Challenge 
  • Doing an adventure with Adelaide Goodeve - helping to celebrate her 30th Birthday
  • The Outer Hebrides - 156 miles - vlogging the challenge
  • Doing an adventure with Gemma for 2 weeks in October
  • What does the next few months look like….
  • PCT - SOBO July - November 2023
  • Talking about money - Question from Franny
  • Having a safety net and being privileged
  • Financial worries….
  • Not making money 
  • Starting on Patreon in 2017
  • Not spending money at home
  • Costs of adventures and how I pay for them
  • “Feeling trapped”
  • What do you want your life to look like
  • Journal and ask yourself the simple questions
  • What can I be grateful for?
  • What are the little changes you can make
  • Focus on what you can control
  • Updates from the last episode - DProf, Women’s Adventure Institute, Yin Yoga Qualification
  • Project 7 - soft launch 7th August 2022
  • Any questions please do reach out or DM me on Instagram
  • THANK YOU for all your support
  • 1,000 episodes and 3 million downloads in 2023
  • Driving change and wanting to make a difference
Social Media
Instagram @toughgirlchallenges
Twitter @_TOUGH_GIRL
Take a listen to the previous solo reflections episodes 
4th Aug 2021 - Sarah Williams - Reflects on the end of 2020 and the start of 2021
7th Aug 2020 - Sarah Williams - Reflections on 2019 & and the start of 2020. 
4th Aug 2019 - Reflections on 2018 and the start of 2019. Plus plans for Tough Girl Challenges. 
30th Dec 2017 - Reflecting on 2017 and the plans for 2018 
30th Dec 2016 - Reflections for 2016 & Plans for 2017
Aug 4, 2022
Abby in her own words:
“Growing up, the outdoors wasn't a place I spent much time, unless you count doing all nighters in the park guzzling Bacardi Breezers and shivering into my Jane Norman parka as a teenager.
It wasn't a place I felt I belonged. I hated exercise and actively avoided it at all costs, so much so, I'd hide in the showers to bunk PE lessons.
During lockdown, my dad gave me his 23 year old mountain bike and I set myself a challenge to cycle the distance from John O' Groats to Lands End around my hometown to keep myself from melting into the sofa.
I LOVED it! I felt strong and alive as I whooshed through the isolated streets. Is this what it felt like to enjoy exercise? Had I finally found 'my sport’? 300 miles in, I discovered an enormous Ovarian Tumour. 
2 weeks later I was having surgery and my virtual cycle adventure was paused.
The tumour turned out to be a rare form of Ovarian Cancer. I was lucky, it hadn’t spread to other organs which meant surgery was all I needed, however, I discovered the dire stats surrounding Ovarian Cancer and feeling lucky to be alive, I wanted to do something to raise awareness and vital funds for the disease.
I decided to cycle John O' Groats to Lands End for real, but this time, I'd make it as fun and spicy as possible. I strapped my gear to the bike and headed for an off road route following GB Divide and Great North Trail. I’d be camping most nights and carrying everything I needed.
I didn’t train, I didn’t even cycle much before I left, I just had blind faith that if I pedalled one foot at a time I’d eventually get there.”
New episodes of the Tough Girl Podcast go live every Tuesday at 7am UK time - Hit the subscribe button so you don’t miss out. 
You can support the mission to increase the amount of female role models in the media. Visit and subscribe - super quick and easy to do and it makes a massive difference. Thank you.
Show notes
  • Who is Abby in her own words
  • Growing up in a non-sporty family
  • Her teenage years
  • Hating all sports but enjoy skiing
  • Started climbing in Northumberland
  • Climbing and hiking with her ex
  • Spending a month in Grampians National Park
  • Breaking up with her ex and going out on her own
  • Plans to go together to Hampi in India
  • Being uncomfortable going out by herself
  • Driving a camper van to the North Island and South Island for two months
  • Back to working in the events industry
  • Wanting to do more
  • Feeling uncomfortable being seen as a climber
  • Pushing through the fear
  • GB Divide - her first ever bike packing trip
  • Cycling as a kid
  • Deciding to cycle from John o'Groats to Land's End
  • Discovering a big tumour in her ovary
  • Not having any symptoms aside from bloating
  • Finding out about her cancer at the start of COVID
  • Being isolated alone before surgery
  • Fundraising for Ovarian Cancer Action
  • Why is she raising funds for Ovarian Cancer Action
  • Getting support from her mum after her surgery
  • When did she decide to give back
  • Being unable to engage in any activities for six weeks
  • Missing the bike ride around her area
  • Feeling lucky despite going through a traumatic period
  • More details about GB Divide and how she learned about this challenge
  • Taking on the challenge on her father's old mountain bike
  • Borrowing and purchasing necessary equipment
  • Planning the cycle challenge
  • Procrastinating and panicking about being unprepared
  • Getting fit as she goes
  • Driving with her friends from Edinburgh to John O'Groats
  • Getting nervous and figuring out things as she goes
  • Her first night of the challenge
  • Enjoying cycling and feeling proud
  • Staying in Scotland
  • Doing the Cairnwell Pass
  • Being able to do 580 miles on the trail
  • Learned lessons that she can apply to the second half of the challenge
  • Having knee pain
  • Having no knowledge about nutrition
  • Where did @adventure_logistics_queen come from
  • Final words of advice
Social Media
Aug 4, 2022

Nirjala, the "Mountain Queen," was born in Kumari Pati in Kathmandu, Nepal. Nirjala is one of two children, with a younger brother who is a keen road biker. Nirjala started out in her late teens as a professional model. For this career, she was required to keep fit, and it was through going to the gym that she got into first bodybuilding and then cycling.

In 2001, some friends suggested she try her luck in a mountain bike race, The Himalayan Mountain Bike Race Series, and she won the National Women's Category. This proved to be her inspiration to leave modelling and pursue a professional career as a cyclist for the Nepal National Team.

Nirjala's rise to fame and to working as a professional athlete for the Nepal National Team was beset by the difficulty that arose from the patriarchy-based society in which she grew up. Although she competed at a national and international level and at a higher level than the majority of Nepalese male riders, she was marginalized by her own national cycling association, which found sponsors and endorsements for her male counterparts. Despite this, she continued and found her own sponsors (like Qoroz Professional Titanium Bikes).

Nirjala's Notable Achievements:

  • First Nepalese Woman to cycle 22 days from Lhasa (Tibet) to Everest Base Camp (North) to Kathmandu (Nepal)
  • First female to Win (2 times) the Highest Altitude, Endurance race in the World, "The Yak Attack"
  • First Nepalese Female to win a cycle race in the UK
  • First Nepalese Cycle Athlete to compete in a UCI World Cup Finals
  • First Nepalese Cycle Athlete to compete in South Asian Games
  • First Nepalese Woman to complete a cycle race of the Annapurna Circuit
  • Recipient of the - "Tamrakar Award Fund" - Ugrachandi Award (Nepal)
  • Participated in the mountain biking competition at the 16th Asian Games in China in November 2010

She is now a keynote speaker and role model for young women in Nepal and all over the world who have grown up in oppressive societies but dream of being recognized for their sports and achievements. The British writer Jane Nobel Knight wrote a book titled "The Inspiring Journeys of Pilgrim Mothers" and included a chapter on Nirjala's struggle and eventual success in her field.

Nirjala is now married to her British husband, Daniel Wright, and has a son, Percy, and a daughter, Aurora. She is also a respected Mandala Artist (3-time Nepal National, Street Mandala Winner) and holds a Masters in Business Studies (MBS).

Nirjala recently completed her 10km swim race on 9th July in 5 hours, organized by MediaCity UK Swim Challenge.

New episodes of the Tough Girl Podcast go live every Tuesday at 7am UK time - Subscribe so you don’t miss out. 
You can support the mission to increase the amount of female role models in the media. Learn more by visiting . Thank you.
Show notes
  • Who is Nirjala
  • Her passion for sports and fitness
  • Wanting to do more challenging things in her life
  • Her life in Nepal
  • Being sent to a very academic school
  • Her role as a girl in her household
  • Her destiny in life 
  • Trying to make her parents happy
  • Doing all the household chores from a young age
  • Her teenage years and realising that she wanted more from life
  • Getting into physical exercise, starting with yoga and then onto cycling
  • Winning her first mountain bike race
  • Meeting like minded people who enjoyed mountain biking
  • How winning the race changed her life
  • Not having the proper gear 
  • Feeling like somebody
  • Not knowing what she needed to do to get to number 1 in the sport
  • The next step in her journey 
  • Taking part in all the mountain biking races, while studying and working
  • Wanting to know how she compared to other athletes around the world
  • Wanting to compete with the best mountain biking athletes in the world
  • Getting the opportunity to race for 10 days in Northern India in 2009
  • Starting to win the international races
  • The challenges she’s faced, from getting gear to finding sponsorship
  • Racing for no prize money 
  • Funding her life and the financial struggle
  • Racing in the World Cup in France
  • The struggle of having to do everything by herself
  • Facing a very technical route
  • Having children and getting back on to the bike again
  • Moving to the UK 
  • Dealing with the cold lake water
  • Signing up for her first triathlon 
  • Dealing with pre race anxiety
  • The women who have inspired Nirjala
  • If you can dream big you can make it possible
  • Connect with Nirjala on Facebook
Social Media
Aug 4, 2022

Parvinder was doing well until she was 22, when she was diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis and ended up needing a wheelchair.

Despite her physical challenges, Parvinder has never let them stop her from pursuing her dreams to travel and to see the world.

At 38, she decided to follow her passions and became a solo traveller. While travelling she has undertaken numerous adventure activities from paragliding in Taiwan, snorkelling in Australia, parasailing and kayaking in Udupi, and zip-lining in Ecuador, South America.

At 52, Parvinder has now explored 59 countries and she’s not planning on stopping anytime soon.

For Parvinder, there are many lovely experiences and stories that she would like to share with the world and if she could inspire even one person, it would make her really happy.

Parvinder in her own words:

“I have been travelling solo for more than a decade using my wheelchair. I have a small budget and aim to use public transport and hostels where ever wheelchair friendly. In 2020 and 2021 I drove my car from Bombay to Delhi and then from Bombay to Kanyakumari.”

New episodes of the Tough Girl Podcast go live every Tuesday at 7am UK time - Make sure to subscribe so you don’t miss out.

To support the mission to increase the amount of female role models in the media. Sign up as a Patron - Thank you. 


Show Notes

  • Who is Parvinder in her own words
  • Not considering herself old
  • Being diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis at 15
  • Going through severe pain
  • Her love for all kinds of sports
  • Having a lot of faith in God
  • Being bedridden for 5 years
  • Taking herbal medicine
  • Getting onto a manual wheelchair
  • How her love for travel started
  • Wanting to travel on a budget
  • Being refused to travel without a companion
  • Life changes after receiving an automated wheelchair as a gift
  • Being on her own and being able to go wherever she wants
  • Going to Hong Kong with a friend
  • Deciding to travel to Bali alone
  • Getting herself a cheap flight and a budgeted hotel
  • Getting help from people wherever she goes
  • Encountered challenges while travelling alone in a wheelchair
  • Having faith and being fearless
  • Learned lessons from her trip to China
  • Magical moments while travelling to 59 countries
  • Travelling by bus and metro and staying in hostels
  • Getting into full detail about her time in China
  • Making travel videos to share and inspire others during lockdown
  • Getting used to highway driving
  • Driving from Mumbai to Delhi
  • Driving around nature and being closer to it
  • 2020 as the best year for her and many people
  • Not earning money from social media
  • Wheelchair-friendly places
  • Advice and tips for people in wheelchairs and solo travellers


Social Media
Instagram @wheelchairandeye 
Facebook @PammuParvinderChawla 
Youtube @wheelchairandeye 
Aug 4, 2022
Rebecca in her own words:
“First and foremost, I’m a mum of 5. However, I’ve always maintained and embraced sport throughout pregnancies and parenting. 
My love of the outdoors and especially running, was instilled in me from an early age having grown up with a very sporty family. Many holiday was spent walking and camping in Scotland
I started running, ballet and horse riding at a very early age. I grew up in a small village in the north and if I wanted to see friends I’d walk, run, ride a bike or pony ! 
It wasn’t really until 2014 that the ultra endurance big kicked in with full effect ! I wanted a new, bigger challenge to raise money for a charity which had helped me during one of my pregnancies. I’d heard about a brutal desert race ( the infamous Marathon Des Sables ) and decided that this would be a great challenge. 
It’s from here that the endurance bug really kicked in. I finished a respectable 10th lady on my first big challenge. What’s better is that I’d found this incredible community of like minded people who loved being outside and running for hours on end ! 
I competed globally racing in Colorado, Himalayas, Spain, France - picking up the occasional podium on my travels. 
Yet, it was the mountains which really set my heart on fire. Racing in the Himalayas, I’d often seen this beautiful mountain called ‘Ama Dablam’. I’d think to myself how wonderful it would be to climb it but I’d been told it was for really accomplished climbers only. 
It is a technical mountain. Unperturbed, I decided ‘why not try?!’ 
A running friend put me in touch with his climbing friend and we worked together last year climbing in Wales - around the lockdown. 
I summited Ama almost a year ago and from there, a love of high altitude mountain climbing was ignited. 
To find myself completing the Everest and Lhotse ‘High Double’ at the beginning of the season and then to summit K2’ was simply a dream!”
Learn more about Rebecca and her love and passion for the outdoors. 
New episodes of the Tough Girl Podcast go live every Tuesday at 7am UK time - Subscribe so you don’t miss a single episode. 
You can support the mission to increase the amount of female role models in the media. Visit Thank you.
Show notes
  • Who is Becks
  • Being adopted and coming from a sporty family 
  • Growing up in North Yorkshire on a farm/small holding
  • Having sport parents
  • Being encouraged to go outside and try new things
  • Spending a lot of time with her dad 
  • Exploring in the Peak District
  • Spending 2 months in Australia at 15
  • Being active through her teenage years
  • Her running journey 
  • Looking for a running challenge in 2014
  • Running the Marathon des Sables (MDS) in 2015 
  • Being told that it was a stupid idea
  • Getting into the ultra running world
  • Making great friends in the community
  • Training by herself 
  • Getting to know ultra runner (and previous Tough Girl Podcast guest - 29th December 2015) - Elisabet Barnes 
  • Continuing to push herself with endurance challenges
  • Running the Everest Trail Race, Nepal (2017)
  • Feeling comfortable in the hills
  • Being inspired by Ama Dablam (6,812 metres (22,349 ft)) and wanting to climb it
  • Reducing her risk of injury, doing cross training, stretching, pilates, and gym work
  • How the body performs during a multi-stage ultra race
  • Nutrition and fuelling
  • Making the transition from endurance running to mountain climbing
  • Working with a high altitude expedition guide - Jon Gupta 
  • Climbing Island Peak and Ama Dablam in Nepal
  • Having the capacity to endure and keep going
  • Going with the flow and wanting to do the things that she enjoys
  • Preferring the quieter mountains
  • Having the adventure blues after the MDS
  • Adjusting back to normal life after expeditions
  • Living in the present and making the most of everyday 
  • How adventures and challenges can evolve
  • Climbing for 3 months in Nepal (Everest, Lhotse (4th highest mountains in the world at 8,516 metres) & K2)
  • Wanting to climb an 8,000 peak mountain and thinking about the “high double”
  • Not summiting Makalu (5th highest mountain in the world at 8,485 metres) and the lessons learned 
  • Struggling on the mountain and not feeling very well
  • Summit night arriving at camp 3 and dealing with too much wind and snow and having to head back down
  • Feeling proud of her achievement and never giving up
  • Why it’s more than just the summit
  • Her children’s thoughts on her climbing
  • Having a birthday on the mountain
  • K2 - “the savage mountain”
  • Being aware of the danger
  • Using oxygen 
  • Being able to move quicker on the mountain and the benefits
  • Feeling grateful in having the opportunity to climb such an incredible mountain
Social Media
Instagram: @becksferry 
Aug 3, 2022
It's always fantastic to speak about my adventures. I had the pleasure of being interviewed by Hannah for Cicerone’s podcast.
I am also sharing this episode on my platform as well just in case you haven't had the opportunity to listen to it yet. 
Cicerone’s podcast is called - 'Footnotes' which is a podcast to inspire you about outdoor travel and activities in the UK and across the world. Through conversations with their guidebook authors, team members and other outdoor experts, the podcast offers plenty of inspiration and advice about exploring the outdoors. Whether you're an established long distance-trekker or have just rediscovered a love of walking or cycling, listen in to discover your next outdoor adventure.
I am on episode #49.
“In this episode, Hannah is joined by Sarah Williams of Tough Girl Challenges to talk about her experiences walking the entire Wales Coast Path in only 50 days.
The Wales Coast Path is 1,400km (870 miles) along the length of Wales from Chester to Chepstow, including Anglesey. The route passes through the Snowdonia and Pembrokeshire National Parks and many AONBs and can be linked with the Offa's Dyke Path for a complete circuit of Wales. You can find out more about the Wales Coast Path here.
If you'd like to walk the Wales Coast Path yourself, you can find Paddy Dillon's Cicerone guidebook here, and when you use the code "WALESLIVE25" at the Cicerone checkout, you'll receive 25% off all of our Wales guidebooks.”
Show notes
  • Doing the Wales Coast Path challenge
  • More details about the Wales Coast Path
  • Taking on the challenge in 50 days
  • Difference between fast-packing and walking
  • Being joined by Arry Beresford Webb
  • Walking, wild camping, and keeping stats
  • Talking about paid and gifted accommodation
  • Having stress-filled days
  • Finding people's kindness
  • Walking with Alex Mason
  • More on her wild camping experience
  • Her encounters with cows and dogs
  • Seeing interesting wildlife
  • Walking with Abbie Barnes of Spend More Time In The WILD
  • Challenging weather in Wales
  • Amazing sculptures in England
  • Getting to know more about Wales as a country
  • Walking the Isle of Anglesey Coastal Path in 2021
  • Having many places to visit and explore
  • Talking about the guidebook author, Paddy Dillon
  • Speaking with Laura Kennington
  • The Wales Coast Path Guidebook
Social Media - Cicerone #ChallengeWithCicerone
Facebook Group - Cicerone Connect 
Sign up for the Cicerone newsletter to keep up to date with their news, events and guidebooks. 
Aug 2, 2022

An African-American from a family of modest means, Bonnie became an amputee at age five. Against tremendous odds, she used imagination and determination to push past the limitations of disability and win a silver and two bronze medals in downhill skiing in the 1984 Paralympics in Innsbruck, Austria. As the first African-American to win Olympic or Paralympic medals in skiing, she has been honoured at the White House during the annual Black History Month Celebration.

More than an Olympic skier, Bonnie's other accomplishments include an honours degree from Harvard, a Rhodes scholarship, multiple awards for her innovations as an IBM sales rep, and a position on the White House National Economic Council. President Obama named her to represent the US in delegations to both the Winter Paralympic Games in Vancouver and the Summer Paralympics in Rio.

NBC Nightly News called Bonnie, “One of the five most inspiring women in America.”  She has also been featured on the Today Show, CNN, and The Montel Williams Show.  In addition, the nation's leading publications, such as the New York Times, Oprah Magazine, Essence, and People Magazine have profiled Bonnie and noted her extraordinary achievements.

Drawing on her unique experience, analyses, and signature brands of resilience and inclusion, Bonnie St. John established Blue Circle Leadership with the mission to equip professionals with research based, rigorously tested, easily actionable tools and techniques that directly improve bottom-line business results.

Now, Bonnie focuses on bringing out the best in others through executive coaching and motivational speaking for corporations and associations, as well as writing books and articles.

New episodes of the Tough Girl Podcast go live every Tuesday at 7am UK time - Subscribe so you don’t miss out.

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Show Notes
  • Who is Bonnie 
  • Some of the challenges Bonnie has faced becoming a ski racer
  • Getting into skiing at a young age
  • Having an amputation when she was 5 years old
  • Learning to ski on one leg
  • Training hard and qualifying for the Paralympics 
  • Competing in the 1984 Winter Paralympics in Austria
  • Dealing with a lack of snow
  • Was it life changing winning medals
  • Being picked as a Rhode Scholar
  • Learning to work with the press
  • Taking a year off from Harvard
  • Going to Oxford University for 4 years 
  • Working for IBM and working for President Clinton at the White House
  • Starting to focus on leadership development
  • Leadership for women
  • Having confidence 
  • Writing with her husband
  • Having to prove herself over and over again
  • Book: Live Your Joy 
  • Smiling through the challenges
  • How have things changed over the past 30 years
  • The rise of Trumpism and the increase in animosity 
  • Self care and making sure to make it at a priority 
  • The downside of socials media 
  • The power of polarising views
  • Trying to be seen and heard
  • Building resilience and embracing success
  • Focusing on micro-resilience
  • Why resilience doesn’t have to be big things
  • The biggest challenge is incorporating it into your life
  • Day to day routine and what that looks like
  • If you were to give a TED Talk…
  • Ted Talk - Be More Resilient with a FIRST AID KIT FOR YOUR ATTITUDE!  
  • Building your own “first aid kit”
  • Making a choice and the silence behind it - Martin Seligman
  • I choose to….
  • The importance of sharing what’s in your “first aid kit”
  • Figuring out what type of support you need in challenging situations
  • From training to failure to - training to growth
  • The power of your words
  • Reframing things - a great side and a good side
  • How you can connect with Bonnie
  • Blue Circle Leadership
  • Final words of wisdom from Bonnie
  • Learning to get up when you fall down
  • Get back into the race
Social Media
Leadership - 
Facebook @bonniestjohn 
Twitter @bonniestjohn 
Listen to the Straight Up Podcast: