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: 2023
Dec 28, 2023

Rebecca's story starts in the North East of England, where she grew up on a smallholding in an area with little ethnic diversity. Influenced by her mom's passion for animals, she pursued a dream of becoming a vet and moved to Liverpool for University. 

As a young mom, she discovered tennis and joined a fitness group before her journey led her to running.

Residing at the foot of the Pennines in West Yorkshire with her husband and two children. Rebecca turned to running in 2021 as a way to escape life's demands of a busy family life and the stress of running a veterinary practice during Covid. In 2022, she set her first trail race goal, a 16k trail race in the Lakes. 

Rebecca's story also includes her involvement with Black Trail Runners, where she found community and purpose. She shares her experiences, from Endure 24 to the 3 Dales Marathon in North Yorkshire. 

Rebecca shares more about why she wants to  participate in challenging races, how she build inner strength, and expands her comfort zone. She candidly discusses her experiences, of training for and running in the mountainous  Adidas TERREX Infinite trails race in Austria. Plus how she completed her longest run to date, 77k on the Peak Divide running from Sheffield to Manchester through the Peak District.


🎙️ Don't miss out on the latest episodes of the Tough Girl Podcast, released every Tuesday at 7am UK time! Be sure to hit the subscribe button to stay updated on the incredible journeys and stories of strong women.

💪 By supporting the Tough Girl Podcast on Patreon, you can make a difference in increasing the representation of female role models in the media, particularly in the world of adventure and physical challenges. Your contribution helps empower and inspire others. Visit to be a part of this important movement. Thank you for your invaluable support!


Show notes

  • Who is Rebecca
  • Her early years in the North East of England
  • Growing up on a small holding 
  • Living in the least ethnically diverse place in the whole of the UK
  • Being influenced by her dad who was super sporty
  • Her mum’s passion for animals and how it influenced Rebecca into wanting to become a vet
  • Having one cat 
  • Studying to become a vet at Liverpool University 
  • Being use to working hard and dealing with pressure and stress
  • Gaining work experience at every opportunity
  • Not being able to do sport while at university 
  • Moving to a more diverse city 
  • Growing up in white spaces
  • Not being a runner
  • Having her first child in 2014 and feeling a bit lost 
  • Getting into tennis and starting to play on a regular basis
  • Having her 2nd child in 2018 and joining a mums fitness group
  • The impact of covid while working as a vet  
  • Getting into running in 2021
  • Living in West Yorkshire at the foot of the Pennines 
  • Running to have time to herself and to get away from everything 
  • Deciding to set a running goal in 2022 and entering her first trail race (16k trail race in the lakes)
  • Her journey with Black Trails Runners, where it all started
  • Watching Martin 'MJ' Johnson in the film - ‘Run to the Source’ made with Patagonia 
  • Feeling uncomfortable, weird and isolated 
  • The sense of satisfaction after completing her first race
  • Finding her community and what she wanted to do
  • Getting more involved in BTR and what that looked like
  • Connecting with an online community via social media 
  • Endure 24 with BTR  
  • Signing up for the 3 Dales Marathon, North Yorkshire 
  • Not eating or drinking enough and how it impacted her race
  • Building inner strength and dealing with the hard moments while out on the race
  • Entering the growth zone and expanding your comfort zone
  • Signing up for 2 more races
  • Running The Haworth Hobble in winter 
  • Running the Peak Divide (a 2 day ultra - running from Manchester to Sheffield) 
  • Singing up to do Infinite Trails 
  • Fitting in training around her life and what it looks like 
  • Liking routine and liking to be busy
  • Why it’s about the journey 
  • Deciding to apply to run in her first mountain race and becoming part of the first all female, all black running team
  • Needing to be prepared
  • Working with a running coach - Sam from Kings of the Wild Frontier
  • Having the opportunity to train in Chamonix and Snowdonia and spending time as a team
  • Running the “Short Leg” as part of the relay - 21k, 1900m of climbing! 
  • Running the 10k technical descent and the concentration needed to get to the finish 
  • Recovery after the race and struggling to walk afterwards
  • Having a 77k ultra marathon (Peak Divide) the week after! 
  • Dealing with pain and nausea and not being in a good place 
  • Not knowing how she would be able to run the final 40k 
  • Trying to turn it around mentally 
  • Needing to stop thinking about the end and focusing on the next step
  • Taking things step by step and slowly starting to feel better
  • Finishing the race after a difficult and challenging internal battle!
  • Filming a short film for Kendal Mountain Festival
  • Being on the cover of German Trail Magazine 
  • Sharing her journey on Instagram 
  • Final words of advice to encourage and motivate you
  • This about the journey and don’t always think about the end goal
  • “You can achieve, you just have to take the first steps"


Social Media

Instagram: @rebecca_runs_wild 

Black Trail Runners - A community and campaigning charity seeking to increase inclusion, participation and representation of Black people in trail running 🏃🏿‍♂️🏃🏿‍♀️


Instagram: @blacktrailrunners 

Facebook: @blacktrailrunners 

Dec 26, 2023

Bethan is committed to challenging the way we talk about running to encourage as many people as possible to find joy in the experience. She’s an advocate for pace inclusion, spending time outdoors and living well in the world.

Bethan in her own words:

“I live in South London with my husband Mike, our daughter Evie and Loki the Brussels Griffon in a flat that has views over the whole city. 

A few years ago I quit the city and went back to university to work on my PhD and I spend my days researching the representations and identities of women in ultra running in the Sport Business Research Centre at Birkbeck, University of London. 

I’ve struggled with my wellbeing and mental health for most of my life. Over the years I’ve found things that have helped make things more manageable and I’m passionate about sharing what I’ve learnt to help other people ‘Live Well In The World’.”


🎙️ Don't miss out on the latest episodes of the Tough Girl Podcast, released every Tuesday at 7am UK time! Be sure to hit the subscribe button to stay updated on the incredible journeys and stories of strong women.

💪 By supporting the Tough Girl Podcast on Patreon, you can make a difference in increasing the representation of female role models in the media, particularly in the world of adventure and physical challenges. Your contribution helps empower and inspire others. Visit to be a part of this important movement. Thank you for your invaluable support!


Show notes

  • Who is Bethan?
  • Being a feminist sociologist of sport
  • Her academic approach to her insights 
  • Having a post modernist feminist perspective 
  • Being an activist with an agenda
  • Asking questions and wanting to learn and develop her thoughts 
  • Sharing about her life on social media 
  • Her manifesto and how it came about
  • Managing her mental health 
  • Wanting to live well in the world
  • Managing the physical and mental stress, rest and energy
  • Wanting to be content and to enjoy herself 
  • Mindset, gratitude and connection
  • The benefits of movement and why it always has a place in her life
  • Feeling better in nature and spending time outside 
  • Starting her running journey 10 years ago
  • Being in her late 20s, in a difficult relationship and a stressful job
  • Running in the dark in her old school t-shirt
  • Knowing that running would change her life 
  • Feeling good and capable
  • Entering her first race and starting to run with other people
  • Running her first half marathon and being inspired to run a marathon
  • Doing her masters part time while working and how running had to take a backseat
  • Running her first post baby marathon in April 
  • Finishing up her PhD and running 30mins here and there to keep things ticking over
  • Spending time around the running community 
  • Having an emergency c-section and returning to physical activity at 6 weeks
  • Working with a postnatal specialist
  • Doing couch to 5k NHS App 
  • Starting running too soon and getting injured and needing to postpone the October London Marathon
  • Finding joy in running (Tina Muir) and why London was her ultimate Joy PB
  • Using a run walk strategy and having a detailed plan in advance
  • Doing her long runs during the week as that’s when she’s got childcare available 
  • Doing her PhD studying the representations and identities of women in ultra marathon
  • Quitting her job and becoming a full time academic 
  • Wanting more women to take part in sport and physical activity 
  • Why sports are not just a boy thing
  • Post feminist narratives around participation in sports
  • Will women outrun men?
  • Black Trail Runners 
  • The million dollar question!! (When will the PhD be finished?)
  • What’s changed over the years and starting to understand post feminism more 
  • The costs of running and why it’s not free
  • Reductionist ideas and why we need to be mindful of what’s said and seen
  • Why you can’t “just do it”
  • The pressure for women to do a lot and to excel at what they do
  • You can have it all….
  • Working with her partner to balance the challenges of life 
  • Why your priorities can’t be everything
  • How to connect with Bethan on the socials
  • Final words of advice 
  • Examine what your privileges are when it comes to sport and physical activity
  • Avoid platitudes and how you can understand your journey better  


Social Media






Dec 19, 2023

“On 5th September 2022, full of excitement for what lay ahead, I began my run from Land’s End to John O’Groats to show others that despite life throwing curveballs our way we can still achieve. I intended to cover a distance of 40-50 miles a day for 20 days, a total of approximately 855 miles, aiming to become the world’s fastest female, with single-sided deafness, to complete this journey by foot. However, after 4 days of running in continual torrential rain, things went very wrong on day 5."

During this episode Sara shares more about her run from Lands End to John O’Groats, the challenges, the setbacks and how she moved forward after failure. We discuss in detail her recovery, the changes she made and how she moved forward and tried again. 

This is an episode about endurance running, passion for making a difference and never giving up.  

Sara is a brain tumour survivor who is giving back.

“Brain tumours kill more adults and children under the age of 40 than any other cancer, yet historically just 1% of the national spend on cancer research has been allocated to this disease.”

Sara is fundraising for British Acoustic Neuroma Association and Manchester Skull Base Foundation (FBT).

Sara is also the founder of: The Beyond Recovery Project.

“It's all about bringing together others on the same or similar journey, creating a ‘safe’ space and sense of community, where brain tumour survivors can share experiences and discover how to push beyond the physical and psychological barriers they face together. It's very much nature based, so walks, hikes, challenges. Lots of talking therapy - because you can't beat sharing what you're going through with someone else who has been in that place. It also aims to bridge the gap in some services post treatment, when you're considered ‘fixed’.”

Upcoming events in 2024 

May -  Toubkal with a group of brain tumour survivors

June - Hiking the Langtang valley, Nepal. 

September - The Wadi Rum Ultra (now known as Ultra X Jordan). 220km over 5 days in the Wadi Rum desert.

We first spoke with Sara:  15th March 2022 - Overcome fear and achieve your potential. Author of #SickbedToSummits. 


🎙️ Don't miss out on the latest episodes of the Tough Girl Podcast, released every Tuesday at 7am UK time! Be sure to hit the subscribe button to stay updated on the incredible journeys and stories of strong women.

💪 By supporting the Tough Girl Podcast on Patreon, you can make a difference in increasing the representation of female role models in the media, particularly in the world of adventure and physical challenges. Your contribution helps empower and inspire others. Visit to be a part of this important movement. Thank you for your invaluable support!


Show notes

  • Who is Sara
  • Planning a 20-day route from Lands End to John O'Groats
  • Accepting a Guinness World Record for single-sided hearing loss due to category limitations
  • Training and preparation for a 1,000-mile run
  • Working with an endurance coach and focusing on physical and psychological preparation
  • Sacrificing much of their life to train and prepare for the event
  • Balancing family, work, training, and self-care
  • Feeling ready and focused on the starting line
  • Sharing their experience of the first day of the run
  • Experiencing a torrential downpour and strong winds during a marathon
  • Having discomfort and difficulty with balance and hearing
  • Challenges of running in adverse weather conditions
  • Having single-sided deafness due to a brain tumour
  • Struggling with balance issues, tinnitus, and fatigue during their training
  • Mindfulness training and how it helped in coping with the challenges
  • A challenging endurance run with physical setbacks
  • Experiencing extreme fatigue and the need to take naps to cope
  • Having a traumatic toenail incident
  • Struggling with hip flexor pain and later developing a painful left shin injury
  • Continuing to push through and finish their planned distance
  • Struggles with disappointment after injury and ends up running career goals
  • Missing an opportunity and struggling with the mindset shift towards rehab
  • The importance of treating rehab as training
  • Accountability and consistency in the recovery process
  • Resuming running after an injury and nutrition strategies
  • Running again in mid-November 2022 after a break
  • Being diagnosed with an iron deficiency in January 2023
  • Running a half-marathon despite injury and iron deficiency
  • Second attempt at charity bike ride after setbacks
  • Feeling physically and mentally drained during the second attempt
  • Focusing on the present moment and what is directly in front of them
  • Paul Betteridge and Aimee Tippins running 50 miles in horrendous weather
  • Being joined by her friend Andrew Reed, she connected via the British Acoustic Neuroma Association
  • Experiencing persistent pain in her Achilles tendon during her running journey
  • Using a bike as a backup plan to get to John O'Groats to manage the pain
  • Reflects on post-marathon life, feeling lost and struggling to readjust
  • Working on a project called "Beyond Recovery"
  • Overcoming self-doubt and fear after a brain tumour diagnosis through adventure
  • Lack of support for brain tumour survivors during their recovery process
  • Setting up The Beyond Recovery Project
  • Her journey of creating a Community Interest Company (CIC) to address gaps in brain tumour recovery services
  • Final words of advice from Sara


Social Media


Instagram: @saracrosland 

Facebook: @saracrosland 

The Beyond Recovery Project CIC is a non profit community interest organisation improving lives of brain tumour survivors.



Instagram: @TheBeyondRecoveryProject

Dec 12, 2023

Louise is a journalist, broadcaster, podcaster and writer.

She presented BBC Breakfast for 20 years and before that was a news anchor on the BBC News Channel and the BBC’s One O’clock News. She has also presented The One Show, Five Live Drive, Real Rescues and Missing Live and has been a contestant on I’m a Celebrity Get Me Out Of Here, Time Crashers and Celebrity MasterChef.

Her first book, Dare to Tri, charted her journey from the Breakfast sofa to representing the Great Britain Triathlon team in her age-group at World and European Championships.

Her second book Fearless, Adventures with Extraordinary Women was published by Bloomsbury on 25th May 2023.

It reflect her passion for celebrating women’s success. In each chapter Louise takes on a different challenge with a courageous woman, to get to know them and tell their incredible stories.

About the book: Fearless, Adventures with Extraordinary Women


'To get to the heart of who these women are… I decided to do it the way that I know best, by taking part, spending time right beside them to experience the things they love.'

Driven to bring more attention to female stories of courage and endeavour, Louise Minchin pushes herself to the extreme and embarks on thrilling endurance adventures with trailblazing women.

She freedives under the ice in the dark in Finland with Cath, the first woman to swim a mile in the Antarctic Circle; she cycles across Argentina with Mimi, one of the world's most famous female endurance runners; and she swims from Alcatraz with Anaya and Mitali, two young sisters who have braved the shark-infested waters over 70 times.

With her natural empathy and sense of humour, Louise forms close bonds with 18 incredible women. She explores what drives them and how they find the resilience and determination to go on despite life's setbacks. Lizzie overcame a life-threatening illness and now paddleboards whilst cleaning up the planet with her community; Rhian set up a charity in the face of grief and fundraises through hikes; and Zee took up rugby alongside her busy nursing career and motherhood.

Louise reminds us of the bravery inside us all, and how essential it is to celebrate women's achievements. Prepare to be touched and inspired by these fearless women.


🎙️ Don't miss out on the latest episodes of the Tough Girl Podcast, released every Tuesday at 7am UK time! Be sure to hit the subscribe button to stay updated on the incredible journeys and stories of strong women.

💪 By supporting the Tough Girl Podcast on Patreon, you can make a difference in increasing the representation of female role models in the media, particularly in the world of adventure and physical challenges. Your contribution helps empower and inspire others. Visit to be a part of this important movement. Thank you for your invaluable support!


Show notes

  • Who is Louise?
  • Why you might know who Louise is (if you live in the UK)
  • Taking up sport at 45
  • Calling herself an endurance athlete
  • Her early years and passion for sports
  • Being a water baby and why swimming was her thing
  • Stopping swimming at 15
  • Doing a Christmas Challenge in the velodrome for BBC Breakfast in 2012
  • Having 1 hour of training before race night
  • Buying herself a road bike with drop handle bars 
  • All the gear….
  • Making mistakes on the bike
  • Being encouraged by a friend to try a triathlon
  • Being a goal driven person and why having a goal helps with training 
  • Advice for taking your first step 
  • Telling other people and feeling a sense of accountability/responsibility to achieve goals
  • Being willing to say yes to new challenges
  • Being pushed out of her comfort zones at work 
  • Fears and concerns before her first triathlon 
  • Her attitude of - lets give it a go
  • Not worrying about negative outcomes or failure
  • Having a life changing moment when her daughter was born 
  • Thinking she might die and how the experience changed her
  • Having a more positive attitude to life 
  • Feeling so lucky to do what she does
  • Her love for cycling and spending time on the bike (both indoors and outdoors)
  • Becoming a Team Great Britain (GB) Triathlete  
  • Representing her country at triathlon at the World and European Championships at Olympic distance.
  • Feeling extra pressure when competing in the UK
  • Training for a triathlon and fitting it around her work and job
  • Waking up at 3.40am every day to host the breakfast show
  • Book: Dare to Tri: My Journey from the BBC Breakfast Sofa to GB Team Triathlete
  • Chapter 14 - Kit list - What to take and why to take it.
  • Book: Fearless: Adventures with Extraordinary Women
  • Loving stories about adventure
  • Why do we never hear about women doing these adventures and challenges?
  • Making changes at the BBC around equal pay and being allowed to say hello first
  • Wanting to drive change, by going and doing it 
  • Doing 17 different adventures with fearless women 
  • Needing to amplify women’s voices 
  • Needing different heroes 
  • Trying to get Fearless on the TV
  • Noticing change 
  • Do you know who Mimi Anderson is?
  • Do you know who Cath Pendleton is?
  • Free diving under the ice in Finland with Cath 
  • How hard could that be?
  • Why being fearful and having fear is a good thing
  • Deciding to cycle across Argentina with Mimi Anderson 
  • Feeling the fear and wanting to stop
  • Listening to her gut
  • Doing running with Susie Chan
  • Being part of a wonderful sisterhood of amazing women
  • Running the London Marathon with her daughter
  • Fitting in training while travelling for the book tour
  • How menopause has impacted on exercise and taking HRT
  • How to connect with Louise on the socials
  • Final words of advice for women who want to be fearless and embrace new adventures 
  • Words from Belinda Kirk   


Social Media

Instagram: @louiseminchin 

Twitter: @louiseminchin 


Dare to Tri: My Journey from the BBC Breakfast Sofa to GB Team Triathlete 

Fearless: Adventures with Extraordinary Women 


Dec 7, 2023

Raquel Vélez is the Founder and CEO of Alpine Parrot, an outdoor apparel company that caters specifically to people of size and people of color. She brings with her almost two decades of engineering experience, having received her degree in mechanical engineering from Caltech, worked and studied as a robotics engineer, and eventually shifting over to software engineering and engineering management. 

Now, as an apparel engineer, she's creatively tackling one of the oldest (and most polluting) industries by creating sustainable, inclusive clothing for a market of people who have so often been neglected in the outdoor space. 

As a plus sized Latina who discovered her love of the outdoors later in life, Raquel has put an incredible amount of careful consideration into the design of each product, focusing on great fit and quality construction. She was named one of Outside Magazine's Outsiders of the Year 2021 and one of Well+Good Magazine's Changemakers 2023.

Raquel has lived in 4 countries, speaks 5 languages, and currently lives in California.


🎙️ Don't miss out on the latest episodes of the Tough Girl Podcast, released every Tuesday at 7am UK time! Be sure to hit the subscribe button to stay updated on the incredible journeys and stories of strong women.

💪 By supporting the Tough Girl Podcast on Patreon, you can make a difference in increasing the representation of female role models in the media, particularly in the world of adventure and physical challenges. Your contribution helps empower and inspire others. Visit to be a part of this important movement. Thank you for your invaluable support!


Show notes

  • Who is Raquel?
  • Living in California, USA 
  • Her early years
  • Loving to read and explore through books
  • Getting into the outdoors in her 20s
  • Learning how to ski and falling in love with it
  • Her gateway to the outdoors
  • Climbing, camping, surfing and backpacking
  • The lack of Latina role models
  • Growing up being surrounded by whiteness 
  • Making friends in the outdoors
  • Learning how to sew and make patterns
  • Having a degree in mechanical engineering
  • How hard could it be?!
  • Designing an 8 piece plus size women’s ski/snow line
  • Being miserable but earning good money and doing interesting work
  • Starting to think about quitting her job
  • How Alpine Parrot came about
  • The reason behind the company name
  • Putting a plan in place to quit her job
  • The transition from full time employment to being an entrepreneur 
  • Figuring out personal finances and if there was a market for a plus sized focused clothing company 
  • Making plans and metrics for success
  • Engaging with her audience, designing hiking pants and getting feedback
  • Launching a kickstarter in 2021
  • Starting to sell clothing in August 2022
  • Needing to understand what the problem was with plus sized hiking clothes
  • How clothing is made
  • The fit model 
  • Making clothes that fit people in bigger bodies
  • Making the outdoors more inclusive 
  • Happy tears 
  • Making people feel they belong
  • Why there is nothing wrong with your body 
  • 2 different fits for pants - Mountain and River
  • 2 different fits for tops - Coastal and Forest 
  • Using the outdoors to help manage stress
  • Having to make hard decision and needing to let people go 
  • The power of being in nature 
  • Expanding internationally 
  • Buy Alpine Parrot in Australia/New Zealand - Plus Snow
  • Buy Alpine Parrot in the UK - Vampire Outdoors
  • How to connect with Raquel and Alpine Parrot 
  • Final words of advice - on how to get into the outdoors
  • The power of taking one step
  • Walking with purpose


Social Media

Alpine Parrot - 🌲🚶🏽‍♀️Outdoor apparel for sizes 14-30 and 1X-5X!
✨ Latina owned and operated ✨


Instagram: @alpineparrot 


Dec 5, 2023

In this episode of the Tough Girl Podcast, we delve into the inspiring journey of Maite Rojo, a passionate ultra runner who has taken on some of the toughest challenges in the world of endurance racing. 

Born in a small fishing village in Northern Spain, Maite's love for sports and running ignited at a young age. Encouraged by her family, she discovered the simplicity and joy of running, eventually becoming an integral part of a supportive running community.

Over the years, she embarked on marathons, ultra marathons, and eventually 24-hour races, pushing her body to its limits.

Maite's perseverance and dedication paid off when she won two 24-hour challenges, with her second victory securing her a direct entrance to the prestigious Spartathlon Race in Athens. In the gruelling Spartathlon, Maite ran an astonishing 247 km and placed 9th female, proving her indomitable spirit.

Not one to rest on her laurels, Maite recently tackled the Ultr'Ardèche ultra race in France, covering a distance of 222 km and finishing in an impressive 4th place. Her relentless pursuit of new challenges and her ability to adapt to the demands of each race showcase her extraordinary strength and tenacity.

Beyond her own personal achievements, Maite also dedicates her races to her father, who battles a degenerative illness that affects his mobility. Her running journey serves as a testament to the power of resilience and the ability to find strength even in the face of adversity.

Join us as Maite Rojo shares her insights on training for 24-hour races, the importance of rest and recovery, nutrition for endurance athletes, and the mental preparation required to conquer monumental challenges. Her story is one of passion, perseverance, and the unwavering belief in following one's heart.


🎙️ Don't miss out on the latest episodes of the Tough Girl Podcast, released every Tuesday at 7am UK time! Be sure to hit the subscribe button to stay updated on the incredible journeys and stories of strong women.

💪 By supporting the Tough Girl Podcast on Patreon, you can make a difference in increasing the representation of female role models in the media, particularly in the world of adventure and physical challenges. Your contribution helps empower and inspire others. Visit to be a part of this important movement. Thank you for your invaluable support!


Show notes

  • Who is Maite
  • Born in Northern Spain in a small fishing village
  • Currently living in her brothers house, close to Santiago, Spain
  • 50 years old 
  • Spending time around boats from a young age
  • Learning dingy sailing with her brother at 18 years old
  • Having a love for sports from a young age
  • Starting running at 13 years old 
  • Her running journey and how it progresses 
  • Being very shy as a child and being encouraged by her family to do sports 
  • Loving the simplicity of running
  • Finding fellow runners and being part of a community 
  • Competing for 6 years in running before stopping due to other commitments 
  • Sailing full time and trying to train for her first half marathon
  • Running 1 or 2 marathons a year
  • Training for 24hr races 
  • Supported her brother running the Spartathlon 2018 (he was the only Spanish finisher)
  • Being inspired and wanting to race the Spartathlon 
  • Entering the Spartathlon lottery for 3 years before going for a direct entrance
  • Doing her first 24hr race In New Zealand (23rd Self-Transcendence 24 Hour Track Race) and running 206km and placing 1st female. 
  • Running a 24hr track race in Barcelona (24 hores d'ultrafons en pista de Barcelona (ESP)) and qualifying for the Spartathlon by running 216.9km
  • Quitting her sailing job to focus on running and training for 4 months before the Spartathlon Race
  • Wanting to be super prepared
  • Working as a running coach
  • Wanting to challenge herself with training and to see how much her body could adapt to the challenges of the race
  • What training looked like 
  • Looking at her strengths and weaknesses 
  • Being able to do hard sessions and being able to recovery quickly
  • Focusing on strength training while working on a boat when not able to run
  • How sailing helped prepare her for sleep deprivation while running through the night
  • Starting to increase her millage on a gradual basis and doing back to back training sessions at the weekend 
  • Tips for rest and recovery and why its good to have a regular massage
  • The benefits of stretching 
  • Working on her weaknesses and focusing on building strength in her legs through weights
  • Ensuring enough food is consumed to support her body and training needs 
  • Nutrition for fuelling her body as a vegetarian, wanting to eat as natural as possible (avoiding gels)
  • The mental preparation for the Spartathlon Race
  • Race strategy for running including dealing with cut off points and the challenge of the mountain in the middle
  • How meditation helped during the race - focusing on the beauty of the running environment from the stars to the moon.
  • Reducing her caffeine consumption before the race and then having caffeine again before the mountain 
  • Being supported by her crew and seeing her brother at aid stations along the way
  • Running Ultr’Ardèche, in France (222km) and getting 4th place  
  • How to connect with Maite 
  • Why it’s important to have passion for what you do and why you should follow your heart. 


Social Media

Instagram: @mairedrunner 

Facebook: @mairedrunner 

Nov 30, 2023

Ellen is a 27-year-old pilot, flight instructor, and adventure traveler, with a background in writing, acting, and modeling. She grew up on a farm in rural Texas. In her short adult life, she’s been on five expeditions by bicycle, paddle, and oars, both domestic and international. Those journeys add up to a total of 18 months and roughly 10,000 miles - nearly all of which were human-powered and half of which were solo.

In 2017, Ellen, then 22, completed a solo descent of the Missouri from Three Forks to St. Louis. Ellen had previously paddled a tributary of the Amazon and cycled from England to Greece. Ellen is the youngest person to solo paddle the Missouri River from Three Forks, Montana to St. Louis.

In September 2022, Ellen Falterman paddled her 18-foot Grumman canoe to her family's Trinity River home in East Texas, completing a full descent of the Mississippi River and then some.

Her motivation and mentor for these trips have always been her brother Patrick, who died suddenly in 2016. She dedicates all of her expeditions to him, and even when she’s traveling by herself, she never feels as if she’s traveling alone.

***This episode was recorded at the end of 2021 to be released in early 2022. Ellen lost her fiancé in 2022 so we decided to delay the release of the episode until now. Our hearts and hugs go out to Ellen.***


New episodes go live every Tuesday at 7am UK time - Subscribe 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 Thank you.


Show notes

  • Who is Ellen
  • Her trail name
  • Being based out of East Texas
  • The big challenge - gong around the world by rowboat
  • Being inspired by her brother
  • Her family 
  • Wanting to make her own way in life
  • Thinking of becoming an actor
  • Losing her brother suddenly in September 2016
  • Starting to live life like there is no tomorrow 
  • Dealing with the dark and tragic situations that happens in life
  • Going to Brazil with her brother in 2014
  • Talking about her grief 
  • Hitching around Brazil and making money while on the road
  • Learning from her brother while travelling together
  • Doing a river trip after he died
  • Her first solo expedition on the Missouri River, the longest river in North America
  • Planning verses going with the flow 
  • Daily life while on travelling on rivers
  • River time and working with tides and rowing in open water
  • Figuring out resupply and knowing what rations you have
  • The lessons from her first solo expedition 
  • Why everyone should do a solo challenge at some point 
  • Dealing with loneliness 
  • Funding and paying for challenges
  • Working as a flight instructor to self fund challenges
  • Learning to fly and getting her pilot license at 17
  • Deciding to row the length of The Mississippi River
  • How her expeditions have tied together 
  • Naming her boat after her grandma 
  • Gaining ocean rowing experience
  • Doing a sea school course in the UK and gaining qualifications 
  • Handling concerns before the journey 
  • Creating a non-profit and how it works
  • Documenting and sharing the challenge
  • Working with UK non-profit IMMAs 
  • Keeping stuff in storage 
  • Creating a cozy cabin 
  • Wanting to be in Panama in 12 months
  • Launching on September 4th 2022
  • Falling in love and the challenge of leaving 
  • Wanting to be the captain of her ship and being alone for the first year
  • How you can support Ellen 
  • How to connect with Ellen on the socials 
  • Final words advice - The 3Ds - Desire, Decision, Details 


Social Media


Instagram @ellenmagellanexpeditions 

Facebook Ellen Magellan Expeditions


Nov 28, 2023

Josephine in her own words:  

“I’m a middle aged mother of three. Also, adventurer, rock climber, former Mountain Rescuer, wilderness addict, lover of Nature, doer. Oh, and professional author and award-winning photographer.

Many hats, but a common thread of being outdoors, helping people and sharing a love of wild places.

Having moved on from the confines of Mountain Rescue, I am on a journey with Mountain Training Association to get qualified so that I can introduce people, and especially women, to the indescribable benefits of outdoor adventure. 

Too many women feel that it is beyond them. I want to show that it is not.

I love polar adventure and have been to Norway many times and skied across Svalbard on a 9 day expedition. 

Mountains, moors, wilderness, old mines and rock faces all vie for my time so that it feels there is never enough! 

My mantra is: “Do it now. Life is too short.”

I am not one for “ests” the longest/fastest/highest etc. To me, it is all about being there, in that moment.

My work as an author and publisher includes the Dartmoor Tors Compendium, the Official Visitor Guide to Dartmoor National Park and the Geology of Dartmoor. I also design unique infographics and poster art about Dartmoor in particular. My photography, when not illustrating books, is photographing architectural properties and interiors. Mainly though, photography is about showing how beautiful and amazing our world is.”


Don't miss out on the latest episodes of the Tough Girl Podcast, airing every Tuesday at 7am UK time. Hit the subscribe button to stay updated and connected.

Join us in our mission to increase the amount of female role models in the media especially in relation to adventure and physical challenges. Show your support by visiting Thank you for helping to make change happen.


Show notes

  • Who is Josephine
  • Wearing lots of hats 
  • Her love for going out and exploring and spending time in wilderness
  • Studying geo-physics at university down in London
  • Making the move to Devon
  • Deciding to re-train in photography 
  • How her career focuses on photography, design and being outdoors
  • Having 3 grown children 
  • Her love and passion for the outdoors 
  • Growing up in Acton, London
  • Spending more and more time in Dartmoor 
  • Age 14, having the opportunity to do an outward bound course (3 week residential)
  • Discovering different possibilities and wanting to live a life outdoors
  • Meeting her husband at the Officer Training Core at University 
  • Making the decision to move to Devon to raise her family
  • Asking herself the question - what does she really want to do
  • Buying an old barn to renovate, while raising 3 children and going back to college for 3 years to study photography and media production
  • Why we have to take a risk and make things happen
  • Not doing any adventures for 20 years while raising the kids
  • Starting to do more solo activities at 52
  • Booking to do a polar training course with Newland Expeditions
  • Spending time walking on Dartmoor
  • Losing her mum to Ovarian Cancer 
  • Skiing across Svalbard on a 9 day expedition (being the only woman and one of the oldest there)
  • Camp life, dealing with Polar bears and why it’s so challenging 
  • Imposter Syndrome?
  • Feeling like an explorer and an adventurer
  • Cycling the Hebridean Way, Scotland 2022
  • Being inspired by watching the Reality TV Show Castaway (2000) 
  • Dealing with the tough days while on challenges
  • Suffering from covid
  • Challenges with mental health and seeking therapy  
  • Dealing with setbacks and failure 
  • Spending time in the Cairngorms, Scotland and going exploring 
  • Doing her Hill & Moorland Assessment 
  • Wanting to train for her Mountain Leader (ML) Award 
  • Her healing process and wanting to learn new skills
  • Trying to identify what you want to be
  • Doing what’s achievable first
  • Signing up for the Rock Climbing Instructor Course in 2022 
  • Wanting to share her love for the outdoors and encourage more people to spend time outside
  • Mountain Rescue and the training program
  • Hitting a glass wall and dealing with bad people management
  • Deciding to resign from Mountain Rescue 
  • Advice and tips for other women who are in a similar situation
  • Not wanting to rock the boat and what she would do differently now
  • Why the old school way of thinking has to change
  • Why we don’t have to put up with bad behaviour 
  • How the ML training is going 
  • How you can connect with Josephine
  • The meaning behind the name ‘Tavicinity’ 
  • Using Instagram in the old fashioned way - black and white photos
  • The importance of learning how to navigate
  • Why you shouldn’t compare yourself to other people 
  • Why you should try something new
  • “Make it happen and do it for you”.  


Social Media


Instagram: @tavicinity 

Nov 21, 2023

In this episode of the Tough Girl Podcast, we dive into the incredible journey of Fadeelah Kenny, an endurance runner, cyclist, and hiker. Fadeelah, a hijabi woman, shares her inspiring story of becoming a mother and the challenges she faced along the way.

Fadeelah opens up about her experience as a late starter, having her baby at the age of 38. She candidly discusses the struggles she encountered in adjusting to motherhood and her battle with severe postpartum depression. Despite these obstacles, Fadeelah's determination shines through as she shares her story of recovery and resilience.

As an endurance runner, Fadeelah has completed several ultra marathons, including the renowned Comrades Marathon three times. She reflects on her running journey, from discovering her endurance capabilities to pushing herself in longer distances. Fadeelah recounts the mental challenges of running, emphasising the importance of a positive mindset and self-belief.

The conversation delves into Fadeelah's experience of running the Comrades Marathon, an 89-kilometre race that changes direction every year. She shares the mental and physical obstacles she faced during the race, including the last few kilometres where she needed to dig deep to finish with only minutes to spare.

Fadeelah also discusses her struggles with postpartum depression and anxiety, highlighting the importance of seeking support and opening up about one's struggles. She shares her desire to help others by sharing her own journey and offering advice to women facing similar challenges.

Don't miss this empowering episode filled with insights on endurance running, motherhood, and the strength of the human spirit.


🎙️ Don't miss out on the latest episodes of the Tough Girl Podcast, released every Tuesday at 7am UK time! Be sure to hit the subscribe button to stay updated on the incredible journeys and stories of strong women.

💪 By supporting the Tough Girl Podcast on Patreon, you can make a difference in increasing the representation of female role models in the media, particularly in the world of adventure and physical challenges. Your contribution helps empower and inspire others. Visit to be a part of this important movement. Thank you for your invaluable support!


Show notes

  • Who is Fadeelah
  • Working as an electrical engineer while having a love for endurance running
  • Having a new baby 14 months ago age 38
  • Her early years growing up in South Africa
  • Her older sister Rogeema Kenny (who has also shared her story on the Tough Girl Podcast - 4th August 2023)
  • Not enjoying athletics when she was younger as she wasn’t good at it
  • Learning she had a little bit of endurance while running 1,500m at school
  • Only been competitive with herself
  • Starting running 13 years ago and why she prefers the longer distances
  • How her running journey progressed and what that looked like
  • Being asked to run a 5k race on National Women's Day in South Africa (9th August)
  • Getting the bug for running and starting to enter more races
  • Needing a running licence - through the Athletics Association South Africa
  • Deciding to join a running club and meeting so many like minded people
  • Signing up for longer and longer races
  • Running Comrades Marathon 3x (89 km)
  • Two Oceans Ultra Marathon 
  • Why it’s a mental challenge running longer distances 
  • Keep on running - don’t stop, even if you think you aren’t going to make the cut off
  • How the Comrades Marathon changes direction every year 
  • Needing to convince herself that she could finish the race
  • The importance of having a positive mindset and having belief in herself
  • Needing to understand WHY she was running and WHY she was doing this race
  • Dealing with the physical pain during the race
  • Running with a pacer and not being able to keep up for the final few kms
  • Being encouraged to keep on running by supporters 
  • Completing the race with 2mins to spare!
  • Sharing more about motherhood and running
  • Suffering from postpartum depression and anxiety 
  • Not knowing where to turn
  • Talking about her struggles and wanting to help others
  • Starting to feel more like herself 
  • How to connect with Fadeelah
  • Final words of advice for women listening 


Social Media

Instagram: @fadeelahk 

Twitter: @fadeelahk 

Facebook: Fadeelah Kenny 

LinkedIn: Fadeelah Kenny 

Nov 14, 2023

Majka Burhardt is a professional climber, certified climbing guide, conservation entrepreneur, author, and filmmaker; she is also the founder and executive director of the international conservation and development organization Legado and the author of More: Life on the Edge of Adventure and Motherhood, released in 2023. 

Majka currently lives with her 7 year old twins and her husband, the internationally certified mountain guide Peter Doucette, in Jackson, New Hampshire.

About the Book: More: Life on the Edge of Adventure and Motherhood. 

An intense and emotional epistolary memoir by one of the world's top ice climbers, born at the confluence of motherhood, adventure, career, and marriage. 

As one of the world’s leading female professional rock and ice climbers, Burhardt and her husband led globe-trotting, adventure-seeking lives.  When she learns that she’s pregnant—with twins—Burhardt at first tries to justify her insistence on pursuing extreme risk in the face of responsibility.  But she is  ultimately forced to grieve the avalanche of emotions that accompanies any major life transitions along with the physical changes in her own body.

Based on the letters and journals Burhardt diligently kept over the course of those six years, More takes the reader on an around-the-world journey as Burhardt explores the transformative, identity-shifting experience of motherhood and its irreversible impact on career, identity, marriage, and self.

In the early weeks of her children's lives, Burhardt immerses herself in adoration for her twins and grappling with the tremendous guilt and struggle around having to return to risk-laden work and that ever elusive balance mothers everywhere seek amidst it all. 

As the newness of her twins fades into a permanent reality, Burhardt turns her attention towards her marriage and the collateral damage as she and her husband, Peter, struggle to navigate their new normal. As anger and resentment threaten the foundation of her family, Burhardt courageously looks to her past—and her own mother's tumultuous and confusing history of success, violence, and ragged divorce—to better understand her own way forward.  How will she break free from the legacy of her own childhood to start fresh with her own family? 

Raw, candid, and galvanizing, More is a passionate and poignant testament to the enduring power of love and our lifelong journey to understand ourselves as we strive to always pursue more.


Don't miss out on new episodes of the Tough Girl Podcast that are released every Tuesday at 7am UK time! Hit the subscribe button to stay updated.

By supporting the Tough Girl Podcast on Patreon, you can help increase the representation of female role models in the media especially in the world of adventure and physical challenges. Visit to contribute. Thank you for your support!


Show notes

  • Who is Majka
  • Living in Jackson, New Hampshire
  • Her early years growing up
  • Being very sporty and adventurous
  • The toughen up Majka campaign
  • Doing a 45 day canoe expedition in the Arctic
  • Her love for being on trail
  • Mentors and role models
  • Kitty Calhoun - Alpinist & Activist 
  • Lynn Hill 
  • Getting into climbing at at 15/16 years old and how it started gradually 
  • Taking a year off from college to climb full time 
  • Feeling drawn to ice climbing 
  • Wanting to make climbing her job
  • Writing for climbing magazines to make money and to combine her passions
  • Climbing in Ethiopia, Africa
  • Climbing a first ascent - The Sandstone Towers of Tigray, in northern Ethiopia.
  • Book: Vertical Ethiopia published by Shama Publishing, an Ethiopian Publisher.
  • Legado
  • Brining in scientists to climb around the vertical granite terrain on Mount Namuli in Mozambique 
  • Shifting the focus of Legado from being a conservation organisation to one that activates climate justice with indigenous people and local communities throughout the world
  • Working in Mozambique, Kenya and Peru to help create a thriving future 
  • Motherhood and not being sure if being a mum was part of her agenda
  • Meeting her partner, Peter in 2008 in New Hampshire at an Ice Climbing Festival
  • Getting pregnant and finding out it was twins
  • Book: More: Life on the Edge of Adventure and Motherhood. 
  • Trying to hold onto her career during pregnancy and motherhood
  • Working with Patagonia 
  • Micro moments of balance 
  • Training and exercise during and after pregnancy
  • The impact of pregnancy on her core
  • Getting outside and adventuring with the children
  • Writing the book and reflecting back over that time
  • Focusing on showing up and being as present as possible
  • Practical advice and tips for new mothers
  • The importance of friends and community 
  • Dividing up domestic labour and having systems
  • Waking up at 5.30am
  • Morning routine 
  • Rest and recovery
  • Mantra and words of empowerment
  • Being a warrior goodness
  • How to connect with Majka
  • Final words of advice to encourage women to go after their own dreams


Social Media


Instagram: @majkaburhardt 

Facebook: @majka.burhardt

Legado Activates the Power of Legacy - So that people and nature can thrive together - now and into the future. 

Buy the book: More: Life on the Edge of Adventure and Motherhood

Nov 7, 2023

In this episode of the Tough Girl Podcast, I speak with Lucy Coppack, a finance manager by day and an outdoors enthusiast by weekend. 

Lucy shares her love for the hills, her experiences as a female in the outdoors industry, and her personal challenges including the loss of her mother to breast cancer. 

Lucy talks about her decision to raise money for the East Cheshire Hospice by completing the Peak District 88 Trig Point Challenge, and how the outdoors helps her process her emotions and grief. She also shares advice and tips for girls who want to spend more time in the outdoors.


Subscribe to the Tough Girl Podcast to listen to more inspiring stories of women breaking barriers and pushing boundaries. New episodes go live every Tuesday at 7am UK time. To support the mission of increasing female role models in the media, visit


Show notes

  • Who is Lucy
  • Living in Macclesfield, just outside the Peak District, UK
  • Working as a finance manager during the day
  • Her love for the outdoors, the hills and living van life during the weekends
  • Her early years growing up and spending loads of time outdoors
  • Being into climbing, biking and hiking 
  • Her teenage years and spending time in Guides and Explorers 
  • Cheshire Hike 
  • Duke of Edinburgh Award 
  • Being the only girl 
  • Starting to see more women in the outdoors
  • Female instructors and leaders
  • Studying Adventure Sports at Reaseheath College 
  • Getting other basic qualifications for use in the outdoors
  • Struggling after leaving college to find work
  • PGL Summer Camps 
  • Doing ski seasons for 3 years
  • Teaching herself how to snowboard
  • Working long shifts, but having the best time of her life
  • Working her summer seasons in Cornwall, UK
  • Wanting a bit more of a normal job
  • Losing her mum at 3 years old to breast cancer
  • Deciding to raise money for
  • Wanting to do a local challenge to raise money and awareness for East Cheshire Hospice
  • Deciding to do the 'Peak District Trig Point Challenge’ 
  • Wanting to complete the challenge in 88 days
  • Dislocating her knee and needing to go to hospital 
  • The outdoors and how it helps with her mental health
  • Being a mental health first aider 
  • Using hiking to help process her emotions and feeling of grief over losing her mum
  • Van life and the realities 
  • Pooing and peeing 
  • Wanting to hike all 214 Wainwrights 
  • Becoming a Boobette with Coppafeel
  • The importance of checking your boobs on a regular basis
  • The BRCA Gene - BReast CAncer
  • Starting to get breast screening at 25 years old
  • Coming to terms with her risks of getting breast cancer
  • Thinking about doing her Mountain Leader Qualification 
  • Thoughts on working full time in the outdoors industry full time
  • Wanting to work with outdoor brands as an ambassador/influencer 
  • Thinking about the financial side of working in the outdoor industry
  • Advice and tips for girls who want to spend time in the outdoors
  • Starting with local walks to build up your confidence
  • App: All Trails 
  • OS Maps 
  • Check out FB Groups, Meet ups and connect with people on Instagram
  • How to connect with Lucy online
  • Nicky - IG @nicky.walks 
  • Anna Blackwell - @annablackwell 


Social Media

Instagram: @lucy.does.trigs 

Just Giving: 

Nov 2, 2023

Today, I'm excited to share a behind-the-scenes look at the planning and preparation for my upcoming adventure on the 3,000km Te Araroa Trail in New Zealand. I recorded this episode, hours before I headed down to London to catch my flight to first Korea and then on to Aukland, New Zealand. 

In this podcast, I'll take you through the meticulous planning and preparation that goes into making these epic adventures come to life. From the nitty-gritty details on my to-do list to managing setbacks and equipment challenges.

I share the story behind my sponsorship with ZOLEO and the invaluable benefits I've gained from their products. I'll also break down my approach to planning big adventures. Starting by dividing it down into the mental, physical, logistical, and practical aspects, offering insights that hopefully will add value as you plan your adventures.

Throughout this episode, I'll candidly share the intricacies and hurdles I've encountered and why I take full responsibly for all my decision, even when those decision put me under huge amounts of pressure/stress to deliver. 

So, if you're curious about what goes into planning an adventure as massive as the Te Araroa Trail while running a business and keeping that business going while travelling. Then this podcast is a must-listen!

Join me on my journey as I navigate the world of planning, preparation, and ultimately, adventure. 

Follow my Te Araroa Challenge on Instagram @toughgirlchallenges. I’ll be sharing daily updates on the main page and instagram stories.

A massive thank you to ZOLEO for sponsoring the challenge #ChallengeWithZOLEO 



This episode is sponsored by ZOLEO. #ChallengeWithZOLEO

ZOLEO connects with your phone to provide seamless global messaging that follows you in and out of mobile network coverage — plus added safety features you can count on worldwide including industry-leading SOS alerting features. 24/7 monitoring and 24/7 access to non-emergency medical advice, check-in and weather forecasts. ZOLEO offers unmatched peace of mind for you and for everyone waiting at home. 

Stay connected and safe while doing what you love. 


Show Notes

  • Planning and preparation episode for the Te Araroa hike
  • 10.50pm the day before heading down to London 
  • Setting the scene - Working from my bed ‘aka my office’
  • Why I’m not complaining - I’m just sharing the challenges and loving my life
  • Blessed, lucky and very privileged
  • 9th year of the Tough Girl Podcast in 2025
  • Why I’m grateful and full of gratitude - This is what I dreamed about
  • Do I complain all the time? Vlog 5/17 Camino Frances
  • Sharing the realities of what it is like while on challenges
  • Why can I do so many challenges in a year?
  • Planing, planning, planning and more planning 
  • Pitching for work in 2024/2025
  • Having to look far ahead
  • Planning to go to New Zealand since April/May time
  • Future adventures and challenges need to be planned quite far in advance
  • The work that goes on behind the scenes
  • Working super far ahead to ensure Tough Girl Podcast episodes go live every week
  • Being home in March and then away on the 1st April
  • National Outdoor Expo 23rd - 24th March 
  • Me putting pressure on myself 
  • These are my choices 
  • Wanting to walk the main 7 camino’s by the end of 2025
  • Doing the Camino Primitivo as a training hike 
  • Total Stats from the hike 
  • I should have worked out the average time on feet
  • Planning to do list and using my apple notes while hiking 
  • Very specific to do list and really breaking it down into small manageable points
  • Trying to reduce the overwhelm
  • Setbacks and challenges over the past 23 days
  • Having a detailed daily plan of what needs to be done e.g. 4 days to edit 16 days worth of vlogs into 7 vlogs and for them to be uploaded to Youtube.  
  • Broken laptop and needing to send it off to be repaired - there were tears
  • Editing and getting caught up with the vlogs
  • Getting my laptop back up and running and setting everything up again from scratch 
  • Editing - loving the creative process - the stress comes from not having the time to dedicate to it
  • When good enough is good enough 
  • Why I edit the TGP how I edit them. 
  • Why my priority is my guest and their story. 
  • Having challenging conversations and navigating through that
  • Thinking about how to approach these topics, what’s the best way to support the guests 
  • The challenges of batch interviewing and having multiple interviews per day 
  • Building work being done and not being able to record during the day
  • Earning money and taking a one day job in Manchester with OfftoWork and the opportunity cost of earning money and not having time to do my podcast/editing work
  • Taking responsibility for my choices
  • What it means being a sponsored hike. Not all my costs are going to be covered. 
  • First world problems 
  • How did the ZOLEO sponsorship come about?
  • Starting to use ZOLEO in April 2023
  • The benefits I’ve found 
  • Needing to figure out a way to attach the ZOLEO to my pack when running
  • Reaching out to ZOLEO for sponsorship, putting a pitch together and having a meeting.
  • New Zealand - Land Safety Code 
  • Carrying emergency food - apricots and walnuts 
  • The hiking community and the amazing supportive people out there
  • Sharon Evans @freewheelingkiwi 
  • Breaking down the planning into 3 parts; mental, physical, logistical & practical 
  • Starting to plan during the covid years
  • How I start off my research and using apple notes 
  • Facebook: Te Araroa Trail: Women's Group 
  • Working backwards, dates, timeframe, flights accommodation, getting to the start line and getting home from the finish line,
  • Having a plan B, C, D
  • Discover how to get anywhere 
  • Going from Auckland to the top of the North Island 
  • Not being able to plan for everything 
  • Using for accommodation - cheapest in the best location for me
  • Insurance 
  • Visa for New Zealand - British Citizens don’t need a visa - they get a 6 month visa waiver
  • Having another start date for the South Island 
  • Booking the ferry to the South Island 
  • Why sometimes you can’t just go with the flow
  • Gear - Upgrading my tent from a Terra Nova Laser 2 person tent to MSR 2 person tent (900g) the red palace.
  • Can I get lighter in my gear? Maybe change my backpack next year
  • Clothes and trainers provided by Inov-8
  • Get a 15% discount - using this link 
  • The challenges with the waterproof trousers
  • Food boxes? Why I don’t do them 
  • Facebook groups and why I don’t like them in relation to challenges
  • Wanting to figure out stuff for myself 
  • Is it adding value - no - then step away
  • Mental side of planning for a challenge and why I haven’t done a huge amount this time
  • The tools in my tool kit
  • Why the TA is in my comfort zone (which doesn’t mean it’s not going to be tough or hard)
  • Feeling mentally prepared and ready but thinking I could have done more
  • Am I feeling physical ready for the challenge - yes and no….
  • Being joined by Sara Crosland for a walk
  • Wishing I had longer to train and prepare, but doing the best I could do with the time available. 
  • Working with my PT - Franco @HumalForces 
  • Getting my hiker legs back after 7/10 days and being able to push bigger miles towards the end of the trip
  • My weight and being very lean at the moment (which I like, but need to be aware of especially when taking on a big physical challenge like this)
  • Having a vision board on my laptop and phone (created in
  • Flight on Sunday, Korea for 3/4 days, before flying to Auckland.
  • You can follow along on Instagram @toughgirlchallenges
  • Should I share my ZOLEO phone number and e-mail so people can contact me?
  • Having tomorrow morning to do the final bits of work
  • How to reach out - send me an e-mail or send me a DM via Instagram 
  • Thank you to ZOLEO for sponsoring the podcast and the Te Araroa Challenge. 


Previous Challenge Solo Episodes 

Apr 26, 2016 - Sarah Williams - Shares her journey of getting to the start line of the Marathon des Sables (MDS) & running the toughest footrace on earth!

Sep 19, 2017 - Sarah Williams - Thru hiking the Appalachian Trail (2,190 miles) in 100 days!

Sep 4, 2018 - Sarah Williams - Planning and Preparation for the Pacific Coast Highway & the Baja Divide!

Dec 25, 2018 - Sarah Williams - Cycling the Pacific Coast Highway & Baja Divide


Oct 31, 2023

Born in Phoenix, Arizona and raised by immigrant parents from China and Japan, Mari has always been drawn to stories that celebrate and examine identity, multiculturalism, and diversity. 

After completing her Masters at the Royal College of Music in 2019, Funabashi continued to work in London, working closely with production houses Far Away Films and 84 East. 

Since then she has composed for many award-winning films, particularly enjoying providing thoughtful and nuanced underscores for films that center around the human condition, although she would never say no to bombastic superhero themes with french horn solos. 

Curious and creative by nature, Funabashi often mixes sound design with her musical underscores in order to create truly unique pieces of work that are inseparable from the films they were created for.

Beyond music, Mari is a dedicated outdoors enthusiast, and can be found participating in ultra-endurance cycling trips as well as competing in triathlons. Having found outdoor movement after the difficult passing of her father in 2015, introverted Mari finds the long and solo hours of ultra-endurance sports comforting—a quiet and safe space to check-in with herself. 

Her most recent events include a solo bike packing trip from London to Scotland in 2020 (430 miles), the half-ironman distance Castle to Coast Triathlon in 2021 (totalling 81.2 miles) and her 24-hour Manchester to London attempt in 2022 (she made it to 177 miles).


Don't miss out on new episodes of the Tough Girl Podcast! Tune in every Tuesday at 7am UK time by hitting the subscribe button. By subscribing, you'll be supporting our mission to increase the number of female role models in the media especially in relation to adventure and physical challenge. If you would like to contribute even further, please visit our Patreon page at Thank you for your support!


Show notes

  • Who is Mari?
  • Growing up in Arizona in the USA
  • Working as a film composer 
  • Living in the South of England, for the past 6 years
  • Getting into the outdoors in 2016 after the death of her father
  • Her childhood was very focused on music
  • Learning music and playing; piano, guitar, pipe organ, flute, french horn and clarinet
  • Feeling lucky to have connected with the outdoors when she was older
  • Living in New York City  as an introverted person
  • Starting to go on long walks which turned into running
  • Wanting to physically move her body forward
  • Starting to run with friends and finding it enjoyable 
  • Finding triathlon and signing up to race in 2016
  • Preferring the longer distances 
  • Moving to the UK in 2017
  • Use a bike to commute on
  • Getting into ultra distance cycling during covid 
  • Using running to process thoughts 
  • Feeling calm while moving her body and being able to connect with herself on a deep level
  • Starting to do a few solo bike-packing trips
  • Not thinking about distance, but rather time on the time
  • Deciding to cycle from London to Scotland
  • Using Strava to plan the route
  • Having trust in herself to take on this challenge
  • How the challenge helped to boost her confidence
  • “I could probably do it and if I can’t that’s fine, I’ll figure it out someway or another”
  • 24hr Manchester to London attempt in 2022
  • Making it to 177 miles 
  • The lessons learned from the experience and trying again
  • Wanting to break the 200 mile mark
  • Working on a film called - Beyond Words 
  • Working with Play Outdoors Productions - Diversity-focused film collective 
  • Combining art music and the outdoors
  • Composing music while outdoors
  • The goal with creating the film
  • Running a crowd funder and raising the £3K needed to cover the film costs
  • How to connect with Mari
  • Final words of advice for women who want to get into bike packing
  • Struggling to get back on the bike after going through a breakup
  • Women supporting women
  • Being supposed and encouraged by women only Facebook Groups


Social Media


Instagram: @marifunabashi


Oct 24, 2023

Dierdre grew up in New York City in the 1940s and 50s and helped care for her mother who had polio. Going to high school opened her eyes to new possibilities, and she eventually moved to California after spending time in France and Japan. Dierdre's life took a big turn when she divorced her husband and started focusing on her own goals and dreams. 

At 55, she began running, and has gone on to complete multiple marathons. At 59, she began rock climbing, and at 66, she became the oldest woman to climb Yosemite’s iconic El Capitan (with her son, Alex Honnold, of “Free Solo” fame). 

In 2021, she celebrated her 70th birthday by climbing El Capitan again and camping on the summit. 

At the end of 2023, the documentary about her life, “Climbing Into Life,” will be available to watch.

Climbing into Life is a feature-length documentary detailing the inspiring life story of Dierdre Wolownick-Honnold, the mother of Free Solo’s Alex Honnold. 

This is the story of how she went from a completely consumed mother and professor, and ended up on the wall of El Capitan. From an unhappy wife and lonely mother to the status of athlete later in life, Dierdre confronts fear and ageism and gains a wonderful new community in the outdoors. 

At age 71 Dierdre pushes back against the societal norms that assume her retirement years will be spent slowing down.


Don't miss out on new episodes of the Tough Girl Podcast that are released every Tuesday at 7am UK time! Hit the subscribe button to stay updated.

By supporting the Tough Girl Podcast on Patreon, you can help increase the representation of female role models in the media especially in the world of adventure and physical challenges. Visit to contribute. Thank you for your support!


Show notes

  • Who is Dierdre
  • Being a teacher and writer
  • Growing up in NYC after WW2 had ended
  • Being a city girl
  • Helping to care for her mother who had polio
  • Her responsibilities as the girl 
  • How going to high school changed her life
  • Having her eyes opened to possibilities 
  • Growing up in a Polish-American family
  • Not being able to rebel
  • Going to a catholic school
  • Getting out into the real world
  • Spending time in France and Japan
  • Moving to California 
  • The beginning of the big change 
  • Doing everything for everybody
  • Living in a non marriage
  • Teaching herself how to swim in her 40s
  • Her battle against fear
  • Being able to leave her marriage
  • Divorce being a dirty word
  • Taking up running in her 50s
  • Completing her first 1 mile run
  • Pushing herself to go further
  • Taking baby steps 
  • Climbing with her son
  • Climbing the Royal Arches route in 2017 
  • Looking at El Cap and wondering if she could climb it
  • Jugging in climbing - have her feet on the rocks but not her hands
  • Needing to get specialist gear 
  • Training and getting fit for the climb at 66
  • Going up and down El Cap in 1 day
  • Feeling exhausted and getting back in the dark
  • Celebrating her 70th Birthday climbing El Cap via the descent route 
  • Planning a trip to Spain 
  • Book: The Sharp End of Life: A Mother's Story.
  • Documentary - Climbing into Life - out at the end of 2023
  • How to connect with Dierdre
  • Final words of advice 


Social Media


Instagram: @dierdre_wolownick_honnold 

Book: The Sharp End of Life: A Mother's Story. 


Oct 17, 2023

In this episode, we learn about Meghan J. Ward, a writer based in Banff, Canada, who is passionate about outdoor adventure and travel. Meghan is a Fellow of the Royal Canadian Geographical Society, and the author of Lights to Guide Me Home: A Journey Off the Beaten Track in Life, Love, Adventure, and Parenting. 

Meghan has written several books, as well as produced content for films, anthologies, blogs and some of North America’s top outdoor, fitness and adventure publications.

Meghan shares her journey as a writer, her love of travel, and how she balances parenting with her passion for exploration. 

Meghan also provides practical advice for new moms who want to continue travelling and going on adventures with their children. We also learn about her current project, a documentary film about early 20th-century mountain explorer Mary Schäffer Warren. Finally, Meghan shares some words of advice for women who want to spend more time travelling and going on adventures.


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 Thank you.


Show notes

  • Who is Meghan
  • Being based in Banff, Canada
  • Having 2 daughters aged 4 and 10
  • Being a writer and releasing her first travel memoir 
  • Her passion for travel and for being outside 
  • Growing up in Ottawa, Canada
  • Her love of travel and where it came from 
  • Being inspired by National Geographic Magazines 
  • Meeting her husband, Paul in the summer of 2005 
  • Starting a writing career after university 
  • Being encouraged to pursue writing 
  • Her writing process while travelling 
  • Book: Lights to Guide Me Home: A Journey Off the Beaten Track in Life, Love, Adventure, and Parenting
  • Advice for new mums who have children and want to continue travelling and going on adventures
  • Practical pieces of advice for travelling with children
  • Travelling with children on planes
  • Travelling in a way which is good for the environment
  • Slower travel and making micro adjustments 
  • Artists for Air - Brave travellers cleaning up carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. 
  • Raising awareness for carbon removal and carbon offsets 
  • Working on a documentary film about 20th-century mountain explorer, Mary Schäffer Warren 
  • Going on a road trip through the Baltic Nations
  • How to connect with Meghan
  • Final words of advice for women who want to spend more time travelling and going on adventure.


Social Media



Instagram: @meghanjward

Twitter: @meghanjward

Facebook: @meghanjoyward

Book: Lights to Guide Me Home: A Journey Off the Beaten Track in Life, Love, Adventure, and Parenting

Documentary -


Oct 10, 2023

Arati Kumar-Rao is an exceptional National Geographic Explorer, independent environmental photographer, writer, and artist dedicated to documenting the slow violence of ecological degradation. With unwavering passion, she traverses the South Asian subcontinent, embarking on captivating journeys that span seasons and sometimes years. Through her profound storytelling, Arati chronicles the ever-changing landscapes, climate, and their profound impact on livelihoods and biodiversity in South Asia.

Arati's profound impact is not confined to her lens or pen; she employs a multidimensional approach, utilising the power of photos, long form narratives, and art to communicate her insights. Recently, she unveiled her debut book, "Marginlands: Indian Landscapes On The Brink," a poignant exploration now available in bookstores across India and on Amazon.

Currently, Arati is engaged in a significant undertaking as she explores forced human migration in India, supported by a prestigious National Geographic grant. Her remarkable body of work has garnered recognition and has been featured in esteemed publications such as The National Geographic Magazine, Emergence Magazine, The Hindu, #Dysturb, The Guardian, BBC Outside Source, Hindustan Times, Mint, and other reputable outlets. Additionally, her artistic endeavours have been exhibited both in India and internationally, leaving an indelible mark on the global stage.

When not immersed in her assignments, Arati finds solace and inspiration in the Western Ghats and Bangalore, where she cherishes being a loving mother to three rescued cats.


🎙️ Don't miss out on the latest episodes of the Tough Girl Podcast, released every Tuesday at 7am UK time! Be sure to hit the subscribe button to stay updated on the incredible journeys and stories of strong women.

💪 By supporting the Tough Girl Podcast on Patreon, you can make a difference in increasing the representation of female role models in the media, particularly in the world of adventure and physical challenges. Your contribution helps empower and inspire others. Visit to be a part of this important movement. Thank you for your invaluable support!


Show notes

  • Who is Arati?
  • Being based in Bangalore when not travelling 
  • Her role as an environmental chronicler 
  • Being a slow journalist or a slow storyteller
  • The types of story she tells 
  • Her passion for photography and art 
  • The tools she uses to tell the story 
  • Working in the corporate world and making the decision to leave her job (2013) and start telling environmental stories 
  • Her early years growing up and spending time in nature 
  • Being inspired by the National Geographic Magazine 
  • Wanting to tell stories of the land by walking 
  • Making the transition from the corporate world to following her passion for storytelling 
  • The practical steps involved
  • 2 pivotal moments in her life
  • Studying for a Masters in Physical and working in a lab and deciding it wasn’t the right job for her
  • Having to choose between the Arts and the Sciences
  • Moving back to India and working with Intel doing Market Research
  • Falling ill with Typhoid in her 30s and starting to reflect on her life and thinking about what she really wanted to do
  • Needing to make new connections and build new networks 
  • Slowly starting to find her way and the power of social media to publish stories
  • Slow story telling verses the speed of the internet
  • Needing to upskill in photography, writing and art
  • Taking out personal loads and writing for grants
  • Getting the grant from National Geographic to study forced Human Migration across India due to environmental degradation 
  • Doing a transect walk from the most easterly point of India to the most Westerly point. 
  • Planning and starting a story - what that looks like 
  • Following the threads and seeing where it leads
  • Knowing when you are on the right path?
  • Not finding any path to be wrong - there is always something to learn
  • Taking a pause to reflect on the information that’s been gathered 
  • Dealing with dead ends and moving on
  • Her first time in Bangladesh 
  • New book: Marginlands: Indian Landscapes on the Brink 
  • The speed and impact of climate change 
  • Why it’s important to listen to the local geography’s
  • Sounds in storytelling - Soundscapes
  • Recording a sound signature throughout the journey 
  • Paul Salopek’s - Out of Eden Walk
  • Art as part of the storytelling
  • Wanting to train herself to pay attention to detail 
  • How to connect with Arati on the social media platforms 
  • Final words of advice for other women to follow their passions 
  • Why it’s important for women to speak up
  • The stories that are in your backyard
  • “Pay attention. Be astonished. Tell about it.” ~ Mary Oliver.


Social Media


Instagram: @aratikumarrao 

Twitter: @aratikumarrao  

Facebook: @aratikumarrao  

Book: Marginlands: Indian Landscapes on the Brink

Oct 5, 2023

Charlotte Garner is a 58-year-old runner and cyclist, living in France, who only took up sports ten years ago, aged 48. She advocates for the physical and mental benefits of sports for women in their 50s. 

In this episode of the Tough Girl Podcast, she shares her journey of getting involved in sports and how it has transformed her life.

Charlotte grew up in Wales but has lived in France all her life, working as a freelance translator and raising her two daughters. It wasn't until her early 40s that she started to become interested in sports. 

After a divorce, Charlotte moved to Leon and got into running, completing her first 5km and 10km race. She felt a sense of achievement after completing the distance and proud to be part of a community of runners. 

Joining a running club changed her running for the better, and having a coach and following a training plan helped her structure her running routine. Charlotte has since completed seven marathons and two ultra marathons, enjoying the challenge of pushing herself further.

Charlotte's journey is an inspiration for women who may have thought it was too late to start being active.

It is never too late to start, and the physical and mental benefits are well worth it.


Stay updated with the latest episodes of the Tough Girl Podcast by hitting the subscribe button. Don't miss out on inspiring stories of adventurous and resilient women.

You can also make a difference by supporting the mission to increase the representation of female role models in the media especially in relation to adventure and physical challenges. Visit to contribute and help create a more inclusive world. Thank you for your support!


Show notes

  • Who is Charlotte
  • 58 years old
  • Growing up in Wales
  • Living in France all her life
  • Working as a freelance translator
  • Mother to two daughters
  • Getting interested in sports in her early 40s
  • Why 50 is a great age to get involved in sports
  • Her early years growing up in Wales
  • Not liking sports at school and being bullied
  • Making the decision to move to France at 25
  • Studying French and Spanish at University 
  • Becoming qualified to Teach English as a Foreign Language (TEFL)
  • Marrying a French man and having 2 daughters
  • Getting move active in her late 40s
  • Going through a divorce
  • Moving to Leon
  • Getting into running and doing her first 5km and 10km race
  • Feeling a sense of achievement after completing the distance
  • Feeling proud to be a part of a community of runners
  • Joining a running club and how it changed her running for the better
  • Having a running coach and following a training plan
  • Liking a structure and enjoying following a plan
  • Running 7 marathons and doing 2 ultra marathons
  • Enjoying the challenge of pushing herself further 
  • Running 70/80km per week in training 
  • Peri-menopause and menopause and the impact on running
  • Not sleeping properly and going on HRT tablets
  • The mental side of running longer distances
  • The power of gratitude
  • Turning 50 and not looking forward to it
  • Getting fitter and feeling younger
  • Bike touring around New Zealand for 3 months
  • Starting cycle touring in Switzerland and her love of travelling this way
  • Wanting to get more long term adventure in her life
  • Figuring out how to do that as a freelance translator
  • Working and travelling while on the road
  • Heading to New Zealand in December 2022
  • Having to be disciplined while on the road
  • Advice for other women who want to go cycle touring
  • Find a bike that fits you and suits you
  • Start small with a weekend trip and build it up from there
  • Learning to be happy with your own company
  • Using an old folding bike to get around the city 
  • Buying an Avanti bike in New Zealand
  • The challenges of selling the bike at the end
  • Trade Me 
  • Words of advice for women in their 50s who want to get more physically active
  • Connecting with other like minded people 
  • Join a running club or another inclusive group. e.g. Adventure Queens


Social Media


Oct 3, 2023

Steph set a world record for skiing the most vertical feet in a year, but that is just a small part of her story. She is also an author and a sought-after mentor and coach who helps guide people towards a deeper understanding of themselves and their stories.

Steph's work, which includes speaking and facilitating, centers around the intersection of loss, the nature of deep remembrance, and the personal journey of re-creation. 

Her first book, Unbound: A Story of Snow and Self-Discovery, is not just about setting a world record for skiing, but also about growing up and claiming femininity as a super-power. It is a powerful and inspiring read that everyone should experience.

Steph's mother has late-stage Alzheimer's, and she wrote a book about their time together on a road-trip, which is called Everything Left to Remember: My Mother, Our Memories, And a Journey Through the Rocky Mountains. 

This poignant and moving book is about the way we are pulled apart and the way we are re-membered. 

“It is a story about mothers and daughters— a book about nature, and memory, and loss of all kinds. It’s about transforming our pain into something much larger. This is a book about love.”


Don't miss out on new episodes of the Tough Girl Podcast that are released every Tuesday at 7am UK time! Hit the subscribe button to stay updated.

By supporting the Tough Girl Podcast on Patreon, you can help increase the representation of female role models in the media especially in the world of adventure and physical challenges. Visit to contribute. Thank you for your support!


Show notes

  • Who is Steph
  • Living on Bainbridge Island, Washington State, USA
  • Growing up in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada
  • Creating a nice life for herself
  • Hitting 26 years old and knowing that something was missing
  • Deciding to quit everything and sell everything
  • A year of emersion in her own joy
  • Deciding to go skiing and travelling
  • How that 1 year away changed her whole life
  • Her first Book: Unbound: A Story of Snow and Self-Discovery 
  • Her mum being diagnosed with Alzheimer’s
  • Her 2nd book: Everything Left to Remember: My Mother, Our Memories, And a Journey Through the Rocky Mountains.  
  • Her early years growing up in an athletic family 
  • Being encouraged to play sports
  • Learning to ski from 3 yrs old
  • Her early 20s and feeling pressure to achieve
  • Being very goal and achievement orientated 
  • Happiness….
  • Doing all the things she was told to do… and now what?
  • Why the journey was stunning, but the finish line was just another ordinary day
  • Making the decision to change her life and build something different and new
  • What was holding her back
  • Turning the dream into a plan
  • Having a year to put it together
  • Financial and logistically planning and getting fit for the challenge
  • The Hero’s Journey - Joseph Campbell 
  • Women, risk taking and gratitude
  • Skiing all around the world
  • The grind of travel  
  • Magical moments - Skiing in Japan
  • Finding love and taking time to physically recover from the trip
  • Her mother being diagnosed with Alzheimer's in 2015
  • The relationship with her mum and planning a journey through the Rocky Mountains
  • Are you listening for the call of adventure, and do you have the courage to say yes, when you hear it?
  • How the family is coping with the diagnosis and caring for a loved one
  • The ongoing process of grief
  • Creating memories that won’t be remembered
  • Suffering with depression and managing mental health 
  • How to connect with Steph
  • Words of advice


Social Media


Instagram: @stephjagger 

Book: Everything Left to Remember: My Mother, Our Memories, And a Journey Through the Rocky Mountains. 

Book: Unbound: A Story of Snow and Self-Discovery


Sep 26, 2023

Today, we delve into the inspiring story of Dr. Hannah Lock, 33, a British doctor and mountaineer living on the edge of Snowdonia National Park, Wales. With a deep passion for medicine and a love for the mountains, Dr. Lock has embarked on thrilling adventures, led expeditions, and shared her invaluable knowledge of mountain medicine. Join us as we explore her remarkable journey.

Raised near the Peak District, Dr. Lock's childhood was filled with outdoor adventures. From hill walking to rock climbing and skiing, she developed a deep connection to the natural world. A pivotal moment in the French Alps introduced her to Alpine mountaineering, sparking a lifelong love for high-altitude environments. Her subsequent expeditions took her across the globe, from the Brazilian Amazon to the Bolivian Andes and the Swiss Alps.

Dr. Lock found her true passion in Emergency Medicine. Today, she skilfully balances her work in the ER with mountain medicine teaching and expedition support. She provides medical support for ultra marathon trail events in the UK and has expanded her reach to cover mountain marathons in the Nepal Himalaya. Her true calling lies in supporting groups on remote, high-altitude expeditions, empowering them to push their limits while ensuring their safety.

Dr. Hannah Lock's journey as a British doctor and mountaineer exemplifies the power of pursuing one's passions and bridging different worlds. Driven by her love for medicine and the outdoors, Dr. Lock continues to empower others through her invaluable knowledge of mountain medicine.

Her story inspires us to merge our passions, conquer new heights, and make a positive impact in our chosen fields.


🎙️ Don't miss out on the latest episodes of the Tough Girl Podcast, released every Tuesday at 7am UK time! Be sure to hit the subscribe button to stay updated on the incredible journeys and stories of strong women.

💪 By supporting the Tough Girl Podcast on Patreon, you can make a difference in increasing the representation of female role models in the media, particularly in the world of adventure and physical challenges. Your contribution helps empower and inspire others. Visit to be a part of this important movement. Thank you for your invaluable support!


Show notes

  • Who is Hannah
  • Working as a portfolio Doctor
  • Being based in Bangor, North Wales
  • Growing up in Macclesfield on the border of the Peak District
  • Spending lots of time in the outdoors as a child
  • Fitness and spending time in the outdoors while studying at university
  • Doing Duke of Edinburgh as a teenager and how it inspired her love of the outdoors 
  • Doing a World Challenge Expedition to Bolivia 
  • Her first taste of big mountains and travelling in South America
  • Going to Leeds University and joining the hiking club 
  • Combining her passions together
  • Learning more about becoming an Expedition Doctor 
  • Doing a Chemistry Degree first 
  • Going and finding opportunities 
  • Going to medical school at University of Warwick 
  • Gaining mountain skills via Mountain Leader Qualification 
  • Wilderness Medicine Society
  • Professor Chris Imray - (Vascular & Renal Transplant Surgeon based in Coventry, climbed the 7 Summits, & world expert in frostbite) 
  • Dong a Diploma in Mountain Medicine 
  • Starting off on UK Event Work - supporting runners on ultra marathons and multi day ultra marathons
  • Supporting runners in Nepal and gaining more experience 
  • Risk assessment planning
  • Working within your competency level - but also being competent to deal with challenges
  • Her first solo trip as a medic on Kilimanjaro (5,895 m) and the challenges of altitude 
  • Heading to Northern India - Summiting Stok Kangri (6,154 m) - highest trekkable summit in India
  • Starting to teach Mountain Medicine 
  • Realities and Risks 
  • ER (Emergency Room (USA)) -  ED (Emergency Department (UK))
  • Views on life and risk taking
  • Why you should tell people you love them
  • Working in intensive care
  • Deciding to work part time and how her schedule looks
  • Risks in the mountains and how it’s changed over the years
  • Being a climber who is scared of heights 
  • Joining Ogwen Mountain Rescue team 
  • Dream mountains & wanting to climb a 6,000m peak
  • Introduction to “Humans at High Altitude” 
  • CPD Credits 
  • How to connect with Hannah on the socials
  • Working on a 2nd course - which will be specific to women mountaineers
  • Final words of advice and wisdom
  • Trying to fit her work life around the mountains 


Social Media


Altitude Course: 

Instagram: @hannah_lock_exped_doc


Sep 21, 2023

In this episode of  the Tough Girl Podcast, we talk with 26-year-old Claire Wyatt, who is currently cycling 16,000km around Australia. Claire is passionate about solo bicycle touring and sharing stories of kindness from around the world. She tells us about her big adventure in Australia, her passion for cycle touring over the past four years, and her early years growing up as one of five children.

After studying criminology at Loughborough University, Claire moved to Cambodia to work for a travel company. It was there that she got into cycling in her 20s and eventually went on her first cycle tour around Cambodia for three weeks. She tells us about the lessons she learned on that trip and how it inspired her to continue exploring the world on two wheels.

Claire also shares with us the challenges of cycle touring, from budgeting to communication and staying safe on the road. She tells us about the magical moments she's experienced while out on the road and the kindness of strangers she's encountered along the way.

Throughout the episode, Claire provides practical advice for women who want to travel by bike, including how to plan a trip, what equipment to invest in, and how to communicate with locals. She also shares the story of how she was inspired by Dervla Murphy, an Irish travel writer who cycled from Ireland to India in the 1960s.

If you're interested in following Claire's journey, you can check out her blog and follow her on Instagram at @exploringbybicycle. And don't forget to hit the subscribe button for new episodes of the Tough Girl Podcast every Tuesday at 7am UK time. You can also support the mission to increase the amount of female role models in the media by visiting Thank you for listening!


Show notes

  • 26 years old
  • Travelling by bike
  • Her big adventure in Australia 
  • Her passion for cycle touring over the past 4 years
  • Her early years growing up and being 1 of 5 children
  • Getting into cycling in her 20s after university 
  • Having a twin sister
  • Studying criminology at Loughborough University 
  • Moving to Cambodia to work for a travel company
  • Her decision making process
  • Taking redundancy
  • Going on her first cycle tour around Cambodia for 3 weeks
  • Figuring it out on the first trip
  • The magic letter and how it helped her communicate with local people
  • Staying with local family and cheap guest houses
  • Heading home during COVID 
  • Setting up a small project called Mind over Miles 
  • Cycling from Land’s End to John O’Groats (LEJOG) to raise funds for the Adventure Therapy Charity 
  • The lessons from cycling LEJOG and why it was a good experience
  • The bike - Surly Ogre 
  • Investing in new equipment 
  • Power while on the road
  • Carrying her laptop and working while on the road
  • Money and budget while on the road
  • Cycling 16,000km around Australia 
  • Starting in Tasmania and ending in Perth
  • Planning to cycle from Cambodia back to the UK
  • The challenges of cycle touring 
  • Magical moments while out on the road
  • Using Warmshowers for accommodation 
  • The kindness of strangers
  • The Great Queensland Rail Adventure 
  • Learning mechanics for the bike 
  • Communicating with family and using a Zoleo
  • Communicating via radio (Channel 40 in Australia) with the truck drivers
  • Advice for women who want to travel by bike
  • Being inspired by Dervla Murphy 
  • Book: Full Tilt: Ireland to India with a Bicycle by Dervla Murphy 
  • How to connect with Claire
  • Her blog


Social Media


Instagram: @exploringbybicycle 


Sep 19, 2023

In her own words:

“Hi! I'm Kalyani, a freelance photographer, biologist and wildlife filmmaker, born and raised in the city of Leicester, what felt like miles away from the countryside and the outdoors. 

With no role-models or influences in my life to steer me to the natural world, it's a mystery to my whole family how I ended up loving the outdoors and everything in it, but somehow I did. 

My love for nature fuelled me to pursue a BSc at the Royal Veterinary College where I studied a whole range of aspects of animal biology; from anatomy and physiology to behaviour and evolution. My research into kangaroo biomechanics and limb bone scaling was part of a paper published in the Royal Society Open Science in 2018. I then completed my MSc at Imperial College London, where I fell in love with science communication and story telling.

I first picked up a camera at 19 years old when my parents sent me to live in an ashram for 6 months (of course, as a teenager, I wasn't too thrilled at the prospect initially) and that's how I accidentally got into, and got hooked on, photography. I am self-taught and now specialise in travel and wildlife photography.

I love exploring the world, often travelling solo, and learning about different cultures beyond stereotypes. Having Indian heritage, I have a deep understanding of the need to look beyond imperialist and colonialist generalisations and I am able to truly connect with people around the world.

As a biologist, there's something so incredibly special about seeing the most breathtaking animals in their natural habitat and experiencing the sheer magnitude and magic of the world around us.

I have been fortunate enough to have been to the Kumbh Mela, the largest gathering of people on Earth, the forests of Finland to photograph brown bears and the depths of the South African ocean, surrounded by thousands of hammerhead sharks.

My photography work has been featured by UNICEF and the BBC and I have had the opportunity to have worked for Parmarth Niketan Ashram and Light for the World. I have also had footage featured on BBC AutumnWatch and one of my photographs was selected for the long list of the Natural History Museum's Wildlife Photographer of the Year competition. I work full time as a freelancer on science and wildlife documentaries, where I am currently working as a researcher for the BBC's Natural History Unit on a landmark natural history series for National Geographic.”


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 Thank you.


Show notes

  • Who is Kalyani
  • Her love for the outdoors and nature
  • Wanting to be a vet when she was younger
  • Being sent to India by her parents
  • Accidentally getting into photography
  • What did her daily life look like in the Ashram
  • The moment when it all came together for her and started to enjoy taking photos
  • Going back home and doing a 3-year science degree
  • Still unsure what she wanted to do
  • Getting her Master's at Imperial Science Media Production
  • Working in a restaurant
  • How did she get her first job in The Great British Bake Off
  • Starting out as a runner and what she does
  • Taking every opportunity that is given to her
  • How does she cope with the stress
  • Her trips to other countries and what was it like for her
  • Her main job as a wildlife filmmaker
  • Working on a big series for National Geographic
  • Interesting place in Africa called Mauritania
  • Doing a shoot for three and a half weeks with a small crew
  • Why she's less tired than many others and her exhaustion-coping advice
  • Biggest challenges she's faced and had to deal with
  • Kalyani's trip to Iceland and why it was one of the best wildlife moments for her
  • Taking a trip to Finland for her birthday
  • Diving in the South African ocean with the hammerhead sharks
  • Climate change and figuring out shoot dates
  • The reality of nature
  • Where to find more information about Kalyani
  • Top tips and advice


Social Media


Instagram: @kalyanilodhia 

Twitter: @kalyanilodhia


Sep 12, 2023

Alice is passionate about solo female travel, adventure and eco-tourism. A 7x telly award winning host, filmmaker, writer, and photographer, Alice has travelled to some of the most remote and beautiful places in the world. 

Alice  has documented her solo adventures on her popular youtube channel “Alice Ford Adventures”. Alice creates videos on adventure travel, National Parks, hiking, outdoor exploration, sustainable living and wildlife.

 “I'm an adventure filmmaker, travel addict and a Stuntwoman, but most of all a traveler, explorer and lover of our earth.  I love to get outdoors and hike in the mountains, explore off the beaten path destinations and get up close with wildlife.”

Alice's first solo travel experience in her late 20s was a life-changing one. Travelling to Europe, she was inspired to see more of the world and to do more adventuring by herself. Despite concerns and fears, Alice managed to overcome them by being in contact with local people and having an agenda when she travels. Alice wants to encourage more women to get out and explore the world.

One of Alice's most memorable experiences was climbing Mt. Kilimanjaro and going on a safari in Tanzania. The challenges of hiking at high altitude were mitigated by the support and encouragement of other women.

Alice Ford is truly an inspiration for all those who love adventure, nature, and eco-tourism.


Don't miss out on new episodes of the Tough Girl Podcast, which are released every Tuesday at 7am UK time. Hit the subscribe button to stay up-to-date and inspired by the incredible stories of female role models from around the world. 

If you believe in the importance of increasing female representation especially in relation to adventure and physical challenges in the media, please consider supporting our mission by visiting Thank you for your support!


Show notes

  • Who is Alice Ford
  • Being a solo female traveller who loves adventure
  • Being passionate about eco-tourism and exploring indigenous cultures 
  • Wanting to teach people about the world, nature, ecology and wildlife
  • Wanting to empower other women to get out and explore
  • Where her passion for adventure came from 
  • Growing up in the woods in New Hampshire, USA
  • Starting out as business major before changing her major to community development  
  • Transferring college and changing to sociology and public administration 
  • Getting a Masters in Environmental Management 
  • Being athletic at college and doing; track & field, spring board diving and gymnastics
  • Her first big solo travel experience in her late 20s
  • Travelling to Europe and how it changed her life 
  • Being inspired to see more of the world and wanting to do more adventuring by herself
  • Concerns and fears before travelling solo
  • Tips for managing fears and concerns 
  • Being in contact with local people 
  • Having an agenda when she travels
  • Spending time in Tanzania
  • Climbing Mt. Kilimanjaro and going on a safari
  • The challenges of hiking at high altitude
  • Being supported and encouraged by other women
  • Training for Kilimanjaro
  • Hiking with an altitude mask on 
  • Eco-tourism and climbing mountains
  • Kilimanjaro Porters Assistance Project (KPAP) a not-for-profit organisation, is an initiative of the International Mountain Explorers Connection (IMEC) 
  • Hiring guides in other countries and wanting to support local communities 
  • How can people fly ethically?
  • The challenges of travelling in a green way in America
  • Buying carbon offsets 
  • Exploring the National Parks in America 
  • Working as a stuntwoman on movies and TV shows
  • Training in marital arts and learning how to do film fighting
  • Keep fit and healthy 
  • Women in the stunt and film industry and how it’s changed over the past decade
  • Solo female travel, eco tourism and indigenous communities 
  • Staying with a Sami Family (reindeer herders) in Norway 
  • Putting grass in boots to keep your feet warm
  • Future travel plans for 2023 - Rim to Rim hike in the Grand Canyon, The Vancouver Island West Coast Trail, GR20 in Corsica, The Great Western walk in Australia and The Trans Bhutan Trail, plus hikes in New Zealand and South America
  • How to connect with Alice 
  • Final words of advice to encourage more women to go travelling 
  • Vision boards 


Social Media


Instagram: @alicesadventuresonearth 

Twitter: @alicelford 

Youtube: @AliceFordAdventures  


Sep 10, 2023

Hey hey, it's Sarah Williams, your host from the Tough Girl Podcast, and today we're diving into something a bit different. 

In this special solo episode, I'll take you through my personal journey, looking back on the end of 2022 to the adventures and challenges of 2023, and my exciting plans ahead.

I'll share highlights like my journey to the Outer Hebrides, health changes, and unexpected twists like catching COVID while in Australia. Plus, insights into projects like Project 7, and "7 Women - 7 Challenges”.

Discover how I navigated an empty diary, contemplated future adventures, and decided on my next big challenge—the Camino de Santiago. You'll also hear about changes in the vlogging format and deciding between hiking and fastpacking the PCT. 

Plus, insights into how I choose my adventures, my favourite one so far, and the vision board guiding my future goals.

Join me on this adventure and get inspired to set your own goals and chase your dreams. 

Thanks for being part of the Tough Girl Podcast community, and don't hesitate to share your thoughts, questions, and comments!


🎙️ Don't miss out on the latest episodes of the Tough Girl Podcast, released every Tuesday at 7am UK time! Be sure to hit the subscribe button to stay updated on the incredible journeys and stories of strong women.

💪 By supporting the Tough Girl Podcast on Patreon, you can make a difference in increasing the representation of female role models in the media, particularly in the world of adventure and physical challenges. Your contribution helps empower and inspire others. Visit to be a part of this important movement. Thank you for your invaluable support!


Show notes


Social Media


Instagram: @toughgirlchallenges

Twitter: @_TOUGH_GIRL


YouTube: @toughgirlchallenges


Take a listen to the previous solo reflections episodes 

4th Aug 2022 - Sarah Williams - Reflects on the end of 2021 and the start of 2022.

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  


Sep 5, 2023

Meet Anna Stishova, an adventurous paddler hailing from Russia, whose paddling journey began in the UK in 2011. With a strong initial focus on white water kayaking, Anna's path took an unexpected turn towards flat water marathon racing due to various challenges she encountered along the way. As a dedicated paddler, Anna not only pursued her own goals but also became a staunch advocate for inclusivity in the sport. Let's delve into Anna's inspiring story of determination and community impact.

Overcoming Obstacles and Chasing Dreams:

In 2015, Anna faced a significant setback when an elbow injury from a bike accident forced her to put her athletic pursuits on hold for six months. However, Anna's indomitable spirit remained unwavering. In 2016, she earned her Coaching Paddlesports qualification and generously volunteered at the Leaside Trust in London, sharing her knowledge and passion for the sport.

Anna's ultimate aspiration was to complete the formidable Devizes to Westminster International Canoe Race, a challenging 125-mile-long journey often referred to as the "Kayaker's Everest." Undeterred, she participated in this demanding race twice, first in 2017 and then in 2018, paddling in a K1 kayak. Although her first attempt resulted in disqualification on Day 3 due to a minor time delay, her second endeavour faced unexpected adversities as adverse weather and treacherous water conditions forced the entire race to halt on Day 2.

During her time at Leaside, Anna crossed paths with Sirin Arif Gisel, a young Turkish girl who had relocated to the UK from Romania. Recognising Sirin's potential, Anna invited her to be her Junior-Veteran kayak crew for the 2019 DW race. Their collaboration paid off handsomely as they successfully completed the race, becoming the first female Muslim K2 crew to conquer the DW challenge. With Anna's achievement, she became the first hijabi Muslim woman, to finish the race.

Life's Transformations and Continued Resilience:

In 2019, Anna tied the knot shortly before the DW race and subsequently moved to Bolton. The following year, she experienced the joys of motherhood, along with the challenges posed by the Covid-19 lockdowns. Anna herself contracted the virus in April 2020 and continues to deal with its lingering effects. 

Furthermore, the combination of a demanding pregnancy, labor, and the pandemic led to a decline in her fitness levels. However, Anna discovered solace and rejuvenation by joining the Bolton Canoe Club toward the end of that challenging year. Her passion for paddling even inspired her stepchildren to explore the sport.

Advocacy and Recognition:

Anna's dedication and remarkable achievements within the paddling community did not go unnoticed. In 2021, she was honoured to become a #ShePaddles Ambassador for British Canoeing, serving as a role model and advocate for female participation in the sport. She also joined the Inclusion Advisory Group for British Canoeing, actively contributing to the development of the organisation's Equality, Diversity, and Inclusion (EDI) strategy for the years 2022 to 2026.

Looking ahead, Anna continues to be a shining example of perseverance, determination, and the power of inclusivity in the world of paddlesports. Her journey serves as an inspiration to all those who dare to chase their dreams, overcome obstacles, and make a lasting impact on their communities.


Don't miss out on the latest episodes of the Tough Girl Podcast! Tune in every Tuesday at 7am UK time. Hit the subscribe button to stay updated and ensure you never miss a show.

If you believe in the mission to increase the amount of female role models in the media, especially in relation to adventure and physical challenges. You can show your support by visiting

Thank you for joining me on this journey.


Show notes

  • Who is Anna
  • Moving to the UK in 2003 at 20 years old
  • Her love for paddlesports
  • Her childhood and growing up in Russia 
  • Getting introduced to the outdoors
  • Festivals and kayaking in Siberia
  • Wanting to start over in the UK
  • Her first big rafting trip at 18
  • Not knowing where to paddle in the UK
  • Converting to Islam & getting married 
  • Losing herself and going through a hard time
  • Visiting her parents in 2011 and going on a 21 day kayaking trip with friends in Siberia 
  • Wolves & bears!
  • Getting back into paddling again once back in the UK
  • Finding a local canoe club
  • How things have changed over the past 10 years
  • Hiring a coach 
  • Struggling with barriers in white water rafting and needing to make a pivot
  • Getting into flat water marathon racing
  • Being better suited to endurance 
  • Kayaking marathons
  • Devizes to Westminster International Canoe Race 
  • Persevering with the race and going back 3x
  • Deciding to enter as a Junior (aged between 15-19 years old) & Veteran Team 
  • Finding her team mate, Sirin Arif Gisel
  • Dealing with the death of a competitor during the end of the race
  • The lessons and learning from completing the race
  • The support from the flatwater community 
  • The mental challenges while being out on the river
  • Being a role model
  • Feeling judged by the non paddling muslin community
  • Using water sports as a way to have time to herself 
  • Motherhood and continuing with paddlesports
  • Not being able to get out and paddle during the lockdowns
  • Getting back into paddlesport 
  • Dealing with a back injury and not being able to get back into a kayak
  • Taking up Stand Up Paddle boarding 
  • Being a She Paddles Ambassador (2021-2022) 
  • Being a member of the Inclusion Advisory Group for British Canoeing 
  • How to connect with Anna on Instagram & Facebook
  • Follow #ShePaddles hashtag on Instagram
  • Advice for women who want to try new things 


Social Media

Instagram: @KayakingHijabi 

Facebook: @KayakingHijabi 



Sep 3, 2023

Em will be coming along to this year's festival with Molly, her super cute Mongolian street dog, Grettle, her awesome, intrepid scooter AND Arty Bakes, her seriously tasty looking catering business!

If you've not come across Em before then you're in for a treat - quite literally...Em's a baker by day, an artist by nature and an avid traveller at every other opportunity! 

Having bought her first and only bike in 2013; a mint green 125cc vespa, otherwise known as Grettle, she has driven around Europe three times and tackled the Indian Himalayas on several occasions! 

But even better than that, she has ridden her Vespa from the UK to Mongolia and back again, carrying with her a street dog named Molly, who she rescued in the far East of Mongolia and brought home as her pillion passenger! The journey took her two and a half years and she crossed 32 countries racking up 30,000 km en-route!

***This episode was recorded live at the Armchair Adventure Festival 27th - 30th July 2023. Buy tickets now for #AAF24 - THE UK'S MOST ADVENTUROUS FESTIVAL. Mt Edgcumbe, Cornwall, 25-28th July 2024. Use TG10 to get a 10% discount on tickets. ***


Show Notes

  • Who is Emma
  • What Emma does
  • Starting on a journey at 24 from the UK to Mongolia
  • Finding and adopting Molly
  • Being an artist
  • The dream of an overland trip
  • Setting off as a learner with no tools and very little money
  • Doing a TEFL course and teaching English to earn money
  • Traveling the Silk Road
  • Being warned by everyone she knows not to trust anyone
  • Meeting amazing people despite the language barrier
  • Molly the dog and the route she took to get to Mongolia
  • Coming to a point where she doesn't know what to do with herself
  • Starting to bake cookies for fun
  • Advice for people who are going through a wobble
  • Why did she stop doing what she loved
  • Future journeys Emma would like to go on
  • What was it like going to Afghanistan as a single woman
  • How did she build up her knowledge of mechanics
  • Having a bad crash in Istanbul
  • The aftermath of the accident
  • Her bike Gretel and the story behind the name
  • Getting back on the bike
  • What sort of food does Emma eat
  • How does she keep her blog updated throughout her journey
  • Where would she go back to and why
  • Dealing with extreme cold
  • Final words of advice


Social Media 



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