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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Aug 4, 2019

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

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

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

Show notes

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

Social Media

Website - 

Instagram @paula_radcliffe   

Twitter @paulajradcliffe 


Aug 4, 2019

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

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

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

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

Show notes

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


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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

Aug 1, 2019

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

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

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

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

Show notes

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

Jul 30, 2019

Christine is half Spanish, born and raised in NYC, she was an only child and traveled from a young age. She has been surrounded by great mentors such as her grandmother, mother and family friends. She has been raised in a multicultural environment by strong women who have empowered her to go after her dreams.   

Christine is the co-founder and President of Mad Dog Expeditions an internationally recognised technical scuba diving and exploration company based in NYC. For more than 20 years Christine has been diving and exploring in remote regions of the world. Christine is the first woman to dive and explore beneath the Arctic Sea ice and ice caves of the Canadian High Arctic. Christine is also the first woman to dive the dangerous piranha saturated waters of the Amazon's Rio Negro and its tributaries. 

During this podcast, Christine shares more about her background, growing up in NYC and her struggle to get certified to scuba dive (for fun and business) while battling asthma, severe inner ear issues and sea sickness. Although her health issues have always been there, Christine learnt at an early age how to manage them, by working closely with doctors, remaining disciplined and conservative especially when she is in remote locations and working in extreme environments.

Christine is very active in oceanographic and wildlife conservation issues surrounding indigenous peoples. She is a role model for young women everywhere and passes on her expertise by mentoring, lecturing and presenting to student groups throughout the country. Christine is a Fellow of both the Explorers Club in New York and the Royal Geographical Society in London.

Show notes

  • Living and growing up in New York City
  • How a city girl got into travel and adventure
  • Growing up in a multi-cultural family
  • Training and leaning how to scuba dive
  • Dealing with Asthma as a child and how it impacted her ability to do sports
  • The opportunity to start a travel company
  • The first expedition - A trip to the Canadian High Arctic
  • What it’s like under the water
  • Dealing with the cold
  • 2010 working on a project to find a US Submarine in the Gulf of Mexico
  • Using Remote Operated Vehicles (ROVs)
  • Discovering history under water
  • What is the right thing to do?
  • Diving in the Amazon
  • Length of expeditions and dealing with weather issues
  • Being the only women on teams
  • Why you have to be self reliant 
  • Why the company was called Maddog Expeditions
  • Loving huskies dogs
  • Skiing to the North Pole as part of an all women team (2015)
  • Not knowing anyone before heading out to the North Pole
  • Getting competent on skies
  • Why women are tough
  • Getting injured on the ice and having to keep on going
  • Planning to head out to the North Pole in 2020
  • How Exploring Women came about
  • Why you should go out and do something you never though you could do
  • A new book coming in 2020
  • Quick Fire Questions
  • Quest for knowledge - thirst for adventure 


Social Media

Website -

Empowering women, sharing firsthand knowledge, pursuing adventure and creating strong role models

"Quest For Knowledge | Thirst For Adventure”

Instagram: @Exploringwomen 


Jul 25, 2019

We first spoke with Laura in December 2017 when she shared more about solo kayaking in Russia, cycling the Wild Atlantic Way and circumnavigating 3 of the Channel Islands in an extreme triathlon! Laura has gone on to complete, The North Sea Cycle route (Eurovelo 12) which is the world's longest signposted cycle route. Over two and a half months, Laura cycled through 8 countries and covered a distance of over 6,000km. She named this challenge the #GreatNorthRide.

Laura is a full time adventurer and motivational speaker, she has now written and published her first book - Kairos - 

“ Kairos: The right or opportune moment (the supreme moment); a time lapse, a moment of indeterminate time in which everything happens. The perfect, delicate, crucial moment; the fleeting rightness of time and place that creates the opportune atmosphere for action, words, or movement.”

During this podcast, I’m super excited to catch up with Laura as she share more about, Kairos, the #GreatNorthRide, the challenges of getting over injury, as well as more info about her day to day life, Laura also answers quick fire questions from what time she gets up in the morning to her favourite piece of kit. 

Laura will leave you inspired to take on your own personal challenge! Take a listen now! 

Show notes

  • Writing her first book!
  • The definition of Kairos
  • Writing the book and going back to 2012
  • The Great North Ride (which hugs the coasts of the North Sea)
  • From Scotland to Norway - 8,countries, 3000 miles
  • Where the idea came from and why she was wanting a bigger challenge
  • Getting really excited about the challenge!
  • How does she start planning
  • Being a big planner and why it is was so important to have a rough route schedule
  • The spreadsheet life!
  • Co-ordinating community rides and reaching out to schools
  • Logistics and why she set the dates and meeting places
  • Planning to be away for 2.5 months having one rest day a week
  • Dealing with tough terrain and a heat wave
  • Needing more rest on longer challenges
  • Dealing with loneliness in Europe in the final 6 weeks
  • Her mental habits that helped her 
  • Why the UK was the perfect way to start the challenge
  • Day to day life on the road
  • Why routines on the road were so important
  • Budgeting, money and how much it cost
  • Starting in the Shetland Islands
  • Getting to the start line
  • What the NC500 (warm up ride)
  • Dealing with injury and failure
  • Coming back from injury 
  • Frustration and being kind to yourself
  • What she does before and after cycling 
  • The power of a lacrosse ball
  • Eating pineapple
  • The sites on the way
  • Being tacked again…
  • Getting to the end of the trip
  • How she felt after the challenge
  • Having nothing to prove anymore 
  • Getting to be ok with failure 
  • Heading back home and coming back to reality
  • Starting to write her book and needing the story to be right
  • Having to say no to a lot of things
  • Perfectionism and why perfect is not the end goal
  • Day to day life as an adventurer
  • Enjoying her life and getting to inspire the younger generation
  • Quick Fire Questions
  • Final words of advice and top tips
Jul 23, 2019

Jen and her husband Sim have completed multiple marathons, ultra-marathons, Ironman triathlons and adventure races. In 2015 they decided they had had enough of the traditional way of living and spent a year living under canvas with their two young children (5 and 7 years old), they used this opportunity to explore more of  Britain’s National Parks. 

Jen enjoys writing about nature, families, sport and adventures, she co-authors books with Sim, and their books include two of the Day Walks series from Vertebrate; The Adventurer’s Guide to Britain (2018); Amazing Family Adventures (2017); and Wild Running (2014). 

Jen is an advocate of sustainable adventuring, and she works with organisations such as the Wildlife Trusts, the National Trust and the Forestry Commission to highlight the importance of looking after our precious wild places.

Show notes

  • Growing up and loving the outdoors and playing sports
  • Moving from London to the countryside
  • Not really enjoying sports at school  - but loving running
  • How she uses running to get “me time”
  • Focusing on running and getting into ultra marathons
  • Recovering from a car crash
  • Her first marathon…. the Snowdonia Marathon
  • Fitting her running in around her life
  • Why she loves running
  • Combining her passions for writing and running
  • Not getting maternity pay and not being able to work
  • Getting her first publishing deal
  • Deciding to live in a tent for a year (to have an adventure and to save money!)
  • How she met her husband - Sim
  • The reality of living in a field with a 3 year old and a 6 month old
  • Having a back up plan
  • Camping in the UK throughout winter
  • Having supportive friends
  • How life changed after having children
  • Home schooling the children
  • The race for the stones (while still breast feeding)!
  • Wanting to prove to herself that she could take on a big challenge
  • Struggling with motivation while running and how she got passed it
  • Amazing Family Adventures (a book with the National Trust)
  • Exposing children to risk 
  • Not putting her children on social media
  • Advice for new parents for getting children involved in adventure
  • Leaving tent life behind and moving back into a house
  • The Adventurers Guide to Britain 
  • New books coming out next year!


Social Media

Website - 

Facebook - @jenandsimbenson

Instagram - @jenandsim_adventures  

Twitter - @jenandsim 

Jul 18, 2019

Ali is a personal trainer and a passionate runner, she lives in Amersham with her partner and 2 children.

We first spoke with Ali in 2015 where she shared more about how she got into running, doing the Marathon des Sables and the Druids Ultra.

Since we last spoke Ali has joined the Great Britain 24hr racing team and has been pursuing her marathon goal of sub 3 hrs (Her current PB is 3hr 1 min!).

Ali keeps strong by lifting weights, and doesn’t stick to a strict training program, she listens to her body and plans training around her goals. Ali provides lots of great advice and tips whether you are new to running, or are looking to enter longer distance races. 

Show notes

  • Who is Ali
  • Her love for running
  • What she has been doing since we last spoke
  • Still trying to break the 3 hour barrier in the marathon
  • Running a PB of 3hr 1min
  • Running sub 7 minutes….
  • Being proud of her result
  • Her emotions while crossing the finish line
  • Knowing at the half way point she wasn’t going to break the 3hr mark
  • Not believing she can do it
  • “I’m not good enough”
  • Keeping happy throughout the year
  • Doing what she enjoys doing
  • Her love for Park Run 
  • Planning her running in 2019
  • Letting your body recover
  • Being selected for the World Championships in October.
  • Recovery
  • The importance of strength work 
  • Not doing massive mileage
  • Mobility work and making use of Youtube
  • Recovery runs???
  • Working out in her garage gym
  • The Grand Union Canal Race - 145 miles 
  • Why it was one of the hardest races she’s done
  • Having a buddy runner
  • Struggling through the last 20 miles
  • The mental aspects of the journey
  • Getting more competitive over the final 13 miles
  • The ups and downs of running ultra
  • Needing people to be tough with her
  • Going beyond 24 hours running
  • The highs and the lows on the journey
  • The European Championships and only having 3 women
  • Getting a Bronze Medal
  • Putting her legs up in the air
  • Why it is all about the eating on a 24 hr race
  • Eating from half an hour into the start of the race
  • Watch a short video from the race
  • The Spartathlon Ultra Race
  • Advice for ultra runners

Ali is on twitter @AliJYoung

Jul 16, 2019

Krystle is an adventure sports photographer from Queensland, Australia, although she now lives a semi-nomadic lifestyle in her quest to capture and present unique moments from extreme sports, expeditions and adventures across the globe. 

Driven by a passion to capture the most unique perspective not yet thought of, Krystle is willing to travel to get the shot. Whether that’s camping on a frozen fjord for a month in the extreme cold of the Arctic, or hanging out with 23 BASE jumpers paragliding in the Karakoram Range in Pakistan. Krystle consistently brings attention to the demanding adventures and landscapes that the public is rarely fortunate enough to be exposed to.

During this podcast Krystle share more about her passion for travel and photography and how she gained the skills necessary to do this job. She share the challenges of being on the road for 11 months out of every year and how she maintains her physically and mental well being. Krystle also shares top tips and advice for you to ensure you are living your most full life and going after your dreams. She also talks passionately about her Plan A and why that’s the only plan she has. 

Show notes

  • Growing up on the sunshine coast
  • Where her love of travel comes from
  • Being inspired by National Geographic
  • Not having the money to go travelling at 18
  • Her love of photography and where it came from 
  • Loving the outdoors 
  • Life after university and why university was so frustrating!!
  • Being interested in sports photography
  • How she started to add travel into her work
  • Starting to build a network over 4 years while being based in Sydney
  • How she made it happen 
  • Looking for true, gritty, raw adventure
  • Saving every dollar possible to afford to travel
  • Preparing for the Arctic for a month
  • Keeping camera’s working in extreme conditions
  • The challenges while out on expeditions 
  • Dealing with team dynamics and the importance of communication
  • Going paragliding in Pakistan 
  • Women in adventure photography
  • Travelling constantly 
  • Missing having a home and having a base
  • Trying to reset the balance
  • Getting into free diving
  • Trying to stay mentally and physically well when travelling so much
  • Leaving her stuff in a shipping container with her grand parents
  • What’s on the bucket list?!
  • Advice for other women who want to step outside their comfort zone
  • Only having a Plan A and making it work

Social Media

Website -

Instagram - @krystlejwright   


Jul 11, 2019

We first spoke with Sally back at the very start of the Tough Girl Podcast, Sally was one of the first 4 guests. During the first episode we focused on her row across the Atlantic Ocean with her mum who she hadn’t spoken to in 10 years! Since 2015, I’ve heard her give motivational talks, and met Sally on multiple occasions, she’s become a good friend. Sally is also part of the Tough Girl Tribe (closed FB group for guests and patrons of the tough girl podcast).

Earlier on this year, her book  “Sally's Odd at Sea” was selected for the monthly book club (run by Allison McArthur). So much came out from the discussion, such as the challenges of writing the book, feedback on the cover, working as a humanitarian aid worker, becoming a Personal Trainer and working with the athletes in the gym at the 2012 London Olympics, sailing the last leg of the Clipper Round the World, plus so much more! I decided it would be fab to get Sally back on the podcast to share more about her other adventures and challenges she’s been involved with. 

Some of the adventures and challenges include: Qualifying as a humanitarian aid worker with Shelterbox and being deployed to two disasters. Joining the incredible ‘1st’ women from the Armed Forces to climb the Chemin De la Liberte. Recording a documentary about the most remote islands in the world. Writing articles for the BBC Magazine and presented them on BBC Radio 4, which included going to the Galapagos to write about El Niño. Sally also tried to row round Great Britain - but was picked up by the RNLI in Margate!!

Show notes

  • How we know each other
  • The Tough Girl Tribe book club
  • Feedback on the book cover…
  • Finding out more about Sally and her life as an adventurer
  • How times have changed
  • Going against the norms of society 
  • Being at peace with her decision about her career
  • Becoming a humanitarian disaster relief worker
  • Losing a friend in a Tsunami 
  • Suffering from anxiety
  • Being deployed to disaster zones
  • Coping emotionally 
  • Adjusting back to normal life
  • Not having to prove herself anymore
  • Having her daughter (after 10 years)
  • Going on adventures
  • Health and fitness after a bad pregnancy
  • The challenges with social media 
  • Surviving for 3 years
  • Resilience training 
  • Walking the ‘Chemin De la Liberte’ the freedom trail
  • The challenges of team dynamics
  • Being stuck in very challenging situations
  • Why journalling doesn’t work for you
  • The Clipper Round the World Yacht Race
  • Not being great at sailing!
  • Needing to get off the boat
  • Breaking her thumb in half and being treated in Amsterdam
  • The Row around Great Britain and everything that went wrong…
  • Wanting to spend more time outdoors
  • Quick Fire Questions
  • The Well-beginners Podcast
  • A new children’s book! 
  • Starting a new campaign - Active Pregnancy 
Jul 9, 2019

Shona left inverness when she was 17 years old looking for something, over the years she tried a variety of different careers; a nurse, a counsellor, an aid worker, a charity project manager, a support worker at a women’s refuge and as a personal trainer all while trying to discover what she loved and what she was passionate about. 

Shona has gone on to explore more of her passions and interests which includes the mountains and spending time in nature. Four years ago, as she was approaching her 40th birthday, she realised she wasn’t living the life she dreamed of or going on the adventures that she wanted to. Shona had been waiting for her circumstances to change but they weren’t so she decided it was time to stop putting her life on hold and time to start living. Every year since she has gotten, a little bit bolder and a little bit braver! In 2016 it was the Outer Hebrides cycle followed by the North Coast 500 cycle in 2017 and the Cape Wrath Trail in 2018. 

This year, Shona is heading off to America to hike the Pacific Crest Trail (PCT - 2,650 miles stretching from Canada to Mexico). We will be catching up with Shona at the half way point to see how she is getting on and also at the end of the hike. Make sure you subscribe so you don’t miss out! New episodes go live every Tuesday at 7am UK time. 

Show notes

  • Who is Shona - living in Inverness, Scotland
  • Reinventing herself many times
  • Retraining as a life coach 
  • Being passionate about nature and being in the outdoors
  • Leaving home at 17 and not having any clue about what she wanted to do
  • Discovering herself and what makes her feel alive
  • How the outdoors played a part of her life when she was growing up
  • Working as an Aid Worker in South Sudan
  • The nature connection
  • Moving back to the highlands and wanting to explore the hills more
  • Deciding to go on a big solo adventure to celebrate turning 40 and how this was the starting point
  • The joy and happiness of being outdoors
  • Not caring what people think
  • Heading to the Outer Hebrides to go on a cycle adventure!
  • How it helped to change her life
  • Taking the first step and why it can be the hardest
  • Scared of going back to her old indoor way of living
  • Book - The Living Mountain - By Nan Shepherd 
  • Joining the Inverness Mountaineering club
  • Cycling the North Coast 500 on a road bike
  • Not having a car and not being able to get out to the hills 
  • Getting help and support to learn new skills
  • The Adventure Syndicate 
  • Remembering the nature connection and why we all have it within us
  • The Cape Wrath Trail in preparation for the Pacific Crest Trail
  • Practical advice and tips
  • “I can do hard things” 
  • The fear of the cold
  • The dream to thru hike the Pacific Crest Trail
  • Flying to London on the 1st July and starting the trail on the 4th July
  • Planning and preparation for the Trail
  • Figuring out how to take off 6 moths to go and hike the trail
  • How’s she's feeling before the start!
  • The reaction of friends and family
  • What’s going to be happening to the blog?
  • Walking Each Other Home by Ram Dass
  • Final words of advice for other women who want to take on a big challenge

Social Media

Website -

Facebook -  @shonamacphersoncoaching  

Instagram - @walkwildcoach 



Jul 2, 2019

Pippa moved to Manly, just outside Sydney in Australia from the UK in 2012 with her husband Joe. She has always loved sport but only got involved in endurance events since moving. After completing 3 Peaks in Victoria (a 235km ride with 4000m of climbing) she realised that you can do anything that you put your mind to and decided to sign up for North Face 50km run! Since then she has continued to get involved with more endurance based challenges. 

In 2017, Pippa joined the Veloroos (a non professional endurance cycle team who won Race Around America in 2015) to take on the non stop 3000k Race Around Ireland (RAI) which ended up smashed the female record and coming 4th overall.

Pippa gave birth to her son Mawson in August 2018. She continued to ride throughout her pregnancy and was keen to find a come back event but nothing was inspiring her, until hearing about the opportunity to ride the Tour De France. 

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

We will be speaking with Pippa after the tour for Tough Girl EXTRA to find out how she got on.

Show notes

  • Pippa introduces herself
  • Goring up in the UK and loving sports
  • Running and swimming for locals clubs
  • Moving out to Australia in 2012
  • Getting involved in sports in a big way
  • Training for the 3 peaks challenge in Australia (a 235km ride with 4000m of climbing and a 13hr cut off point) 
  • The moment when she started to believe in herself
  • Preparing and controlling what she could
  • Why self-belief is so important
  • Doing the North Face 50K Ultra Marathon
  • Fitting training in around work
  • Thinking while running
  • What she eats while trail running (3 dates = 1 gel)
  • The Big Red Run (no longer happens)
  • What happens when things no longer go to plan
  • Readjusting her expectations
  • The Veloroos 
  • The Race Around Ireland - (Watch the documentary)
  • What it was like finishing the race
  • Having a baby in August 2018
  • Staying active during pregnancy
  • Working with a coach or personal trainer?
  • The Tour de France
  • The pressure before the start - 5th July
  • Having a bit of a wobble and feeling a bit overwhelmed
  • Dealing with the logistics and challenges before the race even starts
  • Le Course  - 1 day stage for women  (112km)
  • Final words of advice and top tips for women 


Social media

Facebook: @theveloroos , @InternationElles  

Insta: @theveloroos , @InternationElles  , @piplyon  

Twitter: @internationEll2 

There will also be live tracking each day so you can 'dot watch'  and see where they are each day during the Tour.


Jun 27, 2019

Alex first came on the Tough Girl Podcast in October 2017 to share more about her life, from going from a 9 - 5 office job working as a graphic designer to leaving it all behind to go travelling and go on adventures. On the first episode, Alex shared more about her transition back in 2015, her north and south bound hike of the Pacific Crest Trail, plus other adventures. 

During this podcast we catch up with Alex who in 2018 completed the Appalachian Trail! Alex shares more about the journey, the high points and the challenges, as well as the mental and physical aspects. Alex shares more about how she recovered from the adventure blues, and what her next challenge is going to be, we talk in detail about the money and what’s going to be happening over the next 12 months to make it happen. 

It’s been fantastic to catch up with Alex and to share more about what she’s been achieving in the world of adventure and challenge!

Show notes

  • Being on the road for 18 months and wanting to come home
  • Heading back home and catching up with friends and family
  • Coming home and surprising her parents!
  • Wanting to go travelling again….
  • Trying to decided what to do next
  • Deciding to go and hike the Appalachian Trail!
  • How she Alex decides what to do next
  • Comfort zone?
  • Knowing she can deal with the mental and physical challenge
  • Expectations for the Appalachian Trail
  • Starting the trail… ‘brutal start’
  • Trail family….
  • The biggest challenge on the Appalachian Trail
  • Dealing with time pressure
  • The mental side of the challenge
  • The memories and the moments which stand out
  • Seeing a Moose!
  • Finishing the trail on the 31st August (115 days!)
  • Getting back to England!
  • The cure for the post adventure blues
  • Being so tired for 3 months after the trail
  • Feeling so much better and getting ready for the next challenge!
  • Wanting to row an ocean!
  • Searching for the cause of Parkinson's
  • 2 oceans in 1 year! 
  • Being taken out of her comfort zone….
  • The make up of the rowing crews
  • Needing a year to get to the start line of the Atlantic challenge
  • The money!
  • £85k for both oceans….
  • Start date - January 4th 2020
  • Going for a World Record! 
  • Quick Fire Questions


Social Media

Instagram @masonalexandra 

Facebook - @alexmasonadventurer 

Twitter @masonalexandra

Jun 25, 2019

For the past two years Lucy and her dog Wombat have been walking in South America. Starting in Ushuaia (the southern most point) . They started on the 19th February 2017, and have walked the entire length of Chile through Tierra del Fuago, Patagonia, the coastal wine region, and most recently the Atacama Desert. Since then, they have continue forward with the plan to pass through the Andean Mountains of Peru, and heading towards Panama. 

By the end Lucy will have travelled through 15 countries and she expects the journey to take around 5 years…. Lucy travels only by foot, or when the terrain is impassable she will kayak or swim.  Lucy is self supported, sleeps in a tent, and is responsible for navigation and logistics, all without an on-road support team. We catch up with Lucy - 2 years into her challenge!

*Just FYI - there are a few roosters making an appearance during this podcast!

Show notes

  • Going to university and doing what was expected of her
  • Being inspired to live a different life at 33
  • What we need to know about Lucy
  • Dealing with a neurological condition - Prosopagnosia (face blindness) and being diagnosed at university
  • How she coped with the condition 
  • Roosters/chickens…..
  • Staying in a hostel in Peru 
  • How did she turn the dream into a reality
  • Getting to the start line
  • Dealing with a water crossing close to the start
  • Figuring out the logistics
  • Why you have to pick the people you tell what you want to do….
  • Her biggest concern before she started the walk
  • Learning Spanish
  • Let’s talk about the Money and being frugal
  • Dealing with financial stress, as the expedition goes on 
  • Starting in 2017 - taking us back to the start
  • How she handles her personal safety
  • Her dog - Wombat! - Blue Heeler (Australian Cattle Dog)  
  • Learning to not be polite
  • How’s she handling everything mentally
  • Walking through the night in the desert
  • How her body is coping after 2 years on the road
  • Enjoy the food!
  • Staying on trail
  • Visa’s!
  • Having to change her route in Peru
  • Quick fire questions…

Social Media

Website - 

Instagram - @tanglesandtail  

Twitter - @tanglesandtail  

Jun 18, 2019

Liz Thomas is among the most experienced female hikers in the US and is known for backpacking light, fast, and solo. 

In 2011, she broke the women’s unsupported speed record on the 2,181-mile long Appalachian Trail, besting the previous record by almost a week. She has completed the Triple Crown of Hiking–the Appalachian Trail, the 2,650 mile Pacific Crest Trail, and the 3,100 mile Continental Divide Trail–and has backpacked over 20,000 miles across the United States on 20 long distance hikes, including the pioneering traverse of the Chinook Trail across the Columbia River Gorge and the pioneering traverse of the Wasatch Range, which she did solo. 

Liz is affectionately known as the “Queen of Urban Hiking,” having pioneered and completed routes in 5 cities across the U.S.

Show notes

  • How Liz would explain what she does
  • Being passionate about getting people outdoors
  • Growing up and being inspired by her teacher
  • Starting to go on bigger and bigger hikes!
  • The first thru-hike!
  • Hiking the Appalachian Trail
  • Back packing in the rail!!
  • What changed after she walked the Appalachian Trail
  • Reaching Mt. Katahdin 
  • Getting diagnosed with Lyme Disease
  • Going  through the adventure blues and how she coped with it
  • Hiking the PCT and the Continental Divide Trail (10 years ago!).
  • The biggest learning from the trail and dealing with the challenging weather conditions
  • Advice for other women to get out hiking
  • Trail names!! 
  • Why she got the name Snorkel!
  • Let’s talk about gear!
  • Treelike Review
  • The question she gets asked the most!!
  • Where do you get the time and money!
  • How she affords to thru hike
  • Making the commitment to thru hike
  • What is life like on the trail
  • Physical training before starting a hike
  • The struggle on hikes!
  • Sharing on social media
  • Book — “Long trails - Mastering The Art of The Thru Hike”
  • The idea for urban hiking!
  • The challenges of urban hiking….
  • How are her feet!
  • How urban hiking works…from the route planning and accommodation
  • The next hike in New York City and why it’s intimidating!
  • Quick Fire Questions!!!
  • Final words of advice 

Social Media

Website - 

Twitter - @EAThomas  

Facebook - @LizThomasHiking 

Jun 11, 2019

Tracy knows how to overcome adversity. At age 17 she was diagnosed with a disease that every medical expert said would kill her within 20 years. Tracy was diagnosed with childhood diabetes, which is now known as Type 1 diabetes. She uses the knowledge gained from living with Type 1 diabetes for almost 40 years to help encourage others to prevent, reverse, or control their own diabetes, Tracey wrote her first best selling book - "Diabetes Tragedy to Triumph".

Tracy recently rode her bicycle 3,527 miles from San Francisco to New York City to spread awareness about diabetes while providing hope for others who are suffering. She has also written about this challenge, “Ride for Hope: One Woman's Solo 3,527 Mile Bicycle Ride that Inspired the Nation”.

*Please note this is not medical advice, neither myself nor Tracey are medical doctors!!  

Show notes

  • The worst day of her life
  • Being diagnosed at 17 years old
  • Learning all about Type 1 Diabetes 
  • “You can be bitter or you can be better”
  • Doing something crazy every decade
  • Where did the positivity come from?
  • Mind - Mouth - Move
  • Having the right mindset
  • Positive quotes
  • Diabetes and what it is, the difference between Type 1 and Type 2
  • Proving the doctors wrong!
  • Audacious goals and doing things that frighten her
  • Being afraid of water and signing up for a triathlon!
  • “I probably can’t do it,but I’ll at least try it”
  • Why it all starts with the mind and having the right mindset
  • Deciding to go for a big bike ride!
  • Why she has changed her thinking
  • Dealing with fear
  • Planning her big solo cycle ride from San Fransisco to New York City.
  • Dealing with people who tell her - You Can’t Do That!!!
  • Training for 40 years for this moment.
  • Getting physically fit for the cycle ride
  • Her self care contract with her daughter.
  • Having bike issues 10 mins into the start of the cycle ride!!
  • Being lost and lonely in Nevada
  • Having to deal with the “killer hill”
  • Inspiring the younger generation
  • Doing a lot of self reflection while on the bike ride
  • Her new mantra - “Don’t lose hope”
  • Dealing with loneliness 
  • Being on the road for 90 days.
  • Riding into New York City!
  • Dealing with the emotions of finishing the ride
  • Dealing with the adventure blues
  • Writing books!
  • Quick Fire Questions!
  • Final words of advice

Social Media

Website - 

Twitter - @TracyHerbert  

Instagram - @tracyherbertdiabetesride  

Bestselling Author of two books:

◦Diabetes Tragedy to Triumph: Lessons From 40 Years of Beating the Odds

◦Ride for Hope: One Woman's Solo 3,527 Mile Bicycle Ride that Inspired the Nation


Jun 6, 2019

We first spoke with Stephanie back in 2016, where she shared more about her early years growing up, how she got into sports and running, she also discusses what it’s been like living and working in active conflict zones, including working in Afghanistan with the UN. Stephanie also shares more about her charity Free to Run, which supports women and girls in areas of conflict through running and outdoor adventure.

On 1 January 2017 Stephanie was in a life-threatening accident in the mountains, which is where we pick up with Stephanie for this podcast. Stephanie takes us back to the beginning of 2017 and shares more about what happened, the impact on her physically and mentally, as well as sharing more about her recovery and attitude to getting back to running and competing in ultra races. 

Since March 2018, Stephanie has been based back in Afghanistan (which is where she was for this interview) working for the UN. Stephanie shares more about her life and how she trains for ultra marathons while living in an armed compound. We also do a quick fire question round at the end, which reveals some surprising answers!

Show notes

  • Moving back to Kabul, Afghanistan
  • Living the life she had always wanted 
  • Leaving paradise behind
  • Going back to the start of 2017
  • Starting the year off in the Mountains
  • Being in an accident
  • Going through the options of what she could do
  • Waiting for 30 mins for the helicopter to come
  • Breaking 6 ribs, punctured lung and grade 3 liver laceration, hypothermia, an internal bleeding
  • Recovering mental from the experience
  • Getting over the feeling of being alone
  • Being in intensive care
  • Why she needed to get back to running as soon as she could
  • Listening to your body
  • Not changing her race schedule for 2017 & how it ended up being the best year she’s ever had!
  • Racing Tor des Géants (338km with 31000m of ascent) in 2017 and 2018
  • “You’ve got to find the reason why you came here”
  • Knowing the difference between damaging pain and normal pain
  • Why you have to - reset your pain threshold - create the new normal 
  • Wanting to run in Western States 100!
  • Winning a contest with Strava
  • Crossing the finish line and aiming to do it under 24hrs!
  • Coke cola  & pickle juice…
  • Barkley Marathon… why she entered in…
  • Let’s talk about failure - what does it mean to Stephanie? 
  • Training in Afghanistan while living in an armed compound
  • Future races 2019
  • Quick fire questions
  • Free to Run 

Social Media

Say hi on twitter @runningcase 

Learn more about free to run & support on twitter @FreeToRunNGO

Jun 4, 2019

Hollie has ticked off NZ's iconic Coast to Coast (both the 1-Day race and 2-Day race). Hollie has run 260km through the Sahara Desert in Morocco doing the Marathon des Sables and completed 240km in the Amazon Jungle in Peru! Her latest challenge involved crossing the Greenland Ice Cap which involved walking 560km, over 29 days while pulling a 60kg sledge!

Hollie grew up in rural Mid-Canterbury, New Zealand and spent her childhood outside exploring the mountains and rivers. An Outward Bound experience at the age of 27 led her to set 4 goals; the main one was to complete one BIG challenge each year that would take her outside of her comfort zone. 

Listen to the podcast to learn more about Hollie, the adventurers and challenges she’s been on and what she’s learnt along the way. Hollie shares the high points the low points, the lessons and provides advice and top tips to help you to achieve your dreams.

Show notes

  • Growing up on a farm in New Zealand
  • Doing outward bound at 27 
  • Writing a letter to herself with 4 goals…
  • What outward bound is and what’s involved
  • How it changed her life 
  • Loving sport at school
  • What the 4 goals were
  • What is the iconic NZ Coast to Coast Race (multi-sport race)
  • The difference between the 1 day race and the 2 day race
  • Why it’s an incredible race
  • The biggest challenge from the coast to coast race
  • What she learned from the experience
  • Why kayaking was so challenging
  • Why she thinks the 1 day event is easier!
  • What she has learned from doing these experiences
  • Marathon des Sables 2015 and having no idea what they were in for!!
  • The top two inches and the bottom two inches
  • How Hollie mentally prepares for races
  • Greenland - where the idea came from
  • Getting down to the final 6!
  • Family and friends reactions….
  • Skiing?!
  • Taking us to the start line of the challenge
  • Dealing with the cold, sorting out food and getting to grips with the final bits of preparation
  • Too big of a challenge?
  • The first day and being in shock
  • Trying to figure out how to cope
  • Stats about the challenge
  • What she’s doing when walking
  • Getting into a state of flow
  • The last week of the challenge, and the issues from extreme weather to running out of food!
  • Team dynamics
  • Strengths and weaknesses
  • Spending 29 days on the ice!
  • Not having anything to prove anymore
  • Dealing with the adventure blues
  • Quick fire questions!
  • Say Yes to Adventure


Social Media

The Adventurous Kiwi

Read about her  adventures:

Follow Hollie on Facebook & Instagram


May 30, 2019

Melissa was first on the Tough Girl Podcast back in 2017 where she shares more about her life, how she got into fitness and doing ultra challenges, such as EPIC 5 (the what, the how, the learnings & the challenges faced and overcome).

This audio was taken from a Facebook Live I did with Mel in Melbourne from February 2019. This episode is broken down into 2 parts, with the first part focusing on ultra man and the second half focusing on her training for ultraman, we talk a lot about food, nutrition, and the mental and physical aspects of training. 

Melissa also provided lots of top tips and advice for you to help you train for your next challenge. 

Show notes


  • Melissa living in Melbourne, working as a mental health nurse, 34 years old
  • How she started doing endurance racing
  • Deciding to focus more on herself and making sure she was looking after herself 
  • Being inspired by her friend who did a triathlon 
  • How she fell in love with the sport
  • How she progressed in her running and cycling
  • Dealing with stress
  • Finding the right distance for you and why it matters
  • EPIC 5 - 5 Ironman in 5 days on 5 different islands (This was covered in the first Podcast episode)
  • Ultra-man Hawaii (Nov 2018)- what’s involved
  • No comparison allowed!!!!
  • The challenges on Day 1
  • Dealing with changes which happen on race day
  • Not worrying about things which are outside of her control
  • Working with a coach and having complete faith in them
  • Working on her running strength and getting back into the gym
  • Pace and feel training while running
  • Keeping going when she’s not in the mood
  • Keeping moving no matter what!
  • Not making day 2 bike cut-off 
  • Nutrition and still trying to figure it out
  • Cycling and vomiting for 4 hours….
  • Part of the fun is figuring out your body and what works for you
  • Dealing with not achieving the goal and how she deals with it personally (and why she doesn’t care about what other people think)


  • What is Uberman (33km swim - 633km bike - 240km run)
  • Where do you start with a challenge like this
  • Why it is not ridiculous in her mind
  • Reframing the challenge
  • Training for a challenge like this….
  • Having 8 months to train
  • Dealing with a week’s training at a time
  • Focusing on what you need to do now
  • Working full time and fitting in training
  • Waking up at 4.35am….
  • Going at bed at 8.30pm 
  • Trying to spend time with her husband
  • Having company while training
  • Night time routine and being a good napper
  • Being a vegan - How do you get your protein?
  • Chocolate and ice-cream…..
  • What she eats during the day and why
  • Go to naught snack (but no food is naught FYI!)
  • Vegan gels….
  • Do you like vegemite???!!
  • Focusing on real food while riding on the bike
  • Refuelling while swimming  - what she has and how feet zones work
  • Mental Preparation - how to get your head in the hame and why reflection is very important
  • Never taking her mental strength for granted
  • Visualisation…. and picturing the finish line
  • Vision boards….
  • Biggest challenge/what she’s most concerned about 
  • Managing sleep during Uberman and why she won’t know how it’s going to be until she’s in it
  • Why it’s ok not to know
  • 3 guys have done it in 6/7 days
  • No other women have completed it
  • 10th October start date
  • Can we track her during the race?
  • Follow along with Melissa  - she has a blog and does regular race reports.
  • Mel’s top tips and advice for you!!!


Learn more about Melissa

Follow her blog -

 "Slightly mental triathlete who is allergic to the sun"

Follow on Twitter @rangamel

Follow me on twitter @_TOUGH_GIRL

May 28, 2019

Sydney resident Sarah Davis became the first woman to lead an expedition down the Nile River, one of the world’s longest and most dangerous rivers. 

Sarah’s expedition involved over 1,000km of rafting and 3,000km of kayaking through Rwanda, Tanzania, Uganda, Sudan and Egypt. 

Along the way, Davis, faced immense personal dangers, including a hippo attack, being arrested and detained by military police in Burundi and unexpected, life threatening river rapids in Tanzania. 

During the podcast Sarah shares more about the biggest challenge of the adventure which was getting to the start line, this involved almost 2 years of preparation while working a full time job and doing other small challenges. 

Sarah goes into detail about planning and preparation, and how she broke down the different areas of risk, she shares more about overcoming  her own personal fears and self-doubt to achieve this incredible human powered adventure!

Show notes

  • Growing up in the UK and being big into sport
  • Moving out to Melbourne, Australia 
  • How the idea came about
  • Why she decided to do this challenge
  • Taking 4 years out as a Personal Training
  • Figuring out what hasn’t been down before
  • The Desire Map (Book)
  • Expectations for the challenge
  • What is involved - the countries, the distance
  • The start of the Nile?
  • The blue Nile
  • The white Nile
  • The planning, the preparation and the logistics
  • Taking 2 years to plan - the how!
  • The money - how she paid for the challenge
  • Setting up a ‘gift registry’ instead of a marriage registry
  • The biggest challenge of the planning
  • The security and the safety aspects
  • Risk management
  • Getting insurance?
  • Dealing with stress
  • Quitting her job!
  • Mental preparation
  • 10 seconds of courage - Ted Talk Nadine Champion 
  • Training….
  • Confidence
  • Getting to the start line - leaving Sydney 26th September 2018
  • Getting out on the river for the first time
  • What where the days like
  • Hippo’s are not cuddly and friendly!!!!
  • The people she met along the way
  • Dealing with injury and mentally being ready to finish 
  • Problem solving and dealing with organisation daily
  • Missing out South Sudan
  • Winning Women
  • Wanting to write a book….
  • Homeless and jobless.
  • What’s going to be next
  • Final words of advice
  • New website coming soon!!


Social media

Website - 

Instagram @paddlethenile 

Twitter @PaddletheNile 

Facebook  @PaddletheNile  


May 23, 2019

Anna, is a British born adventurer, motivational speaker, influencer and author.

She was recently named by Condé Nast Traveller as one of the 50 most influential travellers of our time, and by the the Guardian as one of the top modern female adventurers.

She is also proud to be the UK Ambassador for Girl Guiding, and the co-founder of Adventure Queens.

During this podcast we learn more about the Kathmandu Coast to Coast challenge in New Zealand, how it came about, the challenge she had to face and what she learnt form the experience. Anna shares more about her life as an adventurer, her ‘survival’ work and her ‘soul’ work. She also shares more about her next challenge and why she has decided to take this on!

We have spoken to Anna in 2016 (running the length of New Zealand) and 2018 (cycling the Andes) you can catch up and listen to these episodes on the tough girl podcast!

Show notes

  • Where is Anna and what is she up to?
  • Why the past year has been ridiculous! 
  • Having Jamie running for 1 year in America!
  • Spending time in New Zealand 
  • Teaming up with Katmandu to do the Adventure Race  - Coast to Coast in New Zealand (243 km race across the South Island - Cycling, running & Kayaking)
  • Doing Kayaking for the first time!
  • How she met Holly Woodhouse 
  • The biggest challenges on the race…
  • Making a BIG mistake on Day 1!!!
  • The pain cave…
  • Tips and tricks for mental resilience and why you have to take it one step at a time
  • The biggest learning from doing the coast to coast
  • Why Day 2 was so amazing!
  • The logistics and the importance of the support crew
  • The next book!!
  • The life of an adventurer - the realities and the money
  • The soul work and the survival work
  • Being inspired by Seth Godin
  • Barefoot Britain - 100 Barefoot Marathons!
  • The spark of inspiration for this idea
  • What it’s like running barefoot!
  • June 2nd in the Shetland Islands
  • 5 month wiggles through the country
  • What to do if you want Anna to come and speak at your girl guides club (about 3 a week)
  • The logistics of the route
  • Anna’s Angels
  • Dealing with the pressure (which is self inflicted)
  • Filming a documentary about the run at the same time
  • Quick fire Questions….

Connect with Anna - Support & follow!

Website - 

Twitter - @AnnaMcNuff

Instagram - @Annamcnuff

Facebook - 

Get involved with Barefoot Britain  - 


May 21, 2019

After being diagnosed with epilepsy in 2015, Fran set out to walk the Camino de Santiago two years later, solo. Since then, she has worked more adventure into her life. 

In 2017, Fran founded Seize Your Adventure  to advocate for epilepsy awareness in the adventure community, and for the benefits of adventure for those with epilepsy and to demystify the condition and encourage others to try new things and challenge themselves. 

May 20th is the start of National Epilepsy Awareness week, and it is also the start of Fran’s next challenge: the '30 at 30 Challenge'  In her 30th year Fran plan to do 30 new adventures.

Some of these will be small, micro adventures (such as foraging for dinner or SUP in London) whilst others are quite daunting - one of the biggest being the Race to the Stones in July.

For each of the 30, Fran is hoping to work closely with the activity providers to spread epilepsy awareness. Fran also wants to invite 87 people to join in the adventures (because every day, 87 people in the UK are diagnosed with epilepsy.)

*Please note we are not medical doctors and Fran is sharing just her own personal story - this is not medical advice in any shape or form!!

Show Notes

  • Looking to do 30 challenges over her 30th year
  • Epilepsy and what it is
  • Being diagnosed in 2015
  • Having her first seizure
  • Being 22 years old and dealing with the not knowing 
  • Getting into hiking and adventure
  • The Camino de Santiago and deciding to do the walk
  • Managing adventure and epilepsy
  • What’s the right way to describe epilepsy
  • Telling people about her epilepsy 
  • Handling the added complexity of doing a challenge with epilepsy 
  • What was happening before she started the walk
  • Struggling with the language 
  • Why the hike was so much more than she could imagine
  • What was the biggest challenge while out on the Camino
  • Dealing with post trip blues
  • Coming back to not having a job
  • Talking about the money
  • Saving up money to pay for rent while she was away
  • What she did after she got back
  • Starting - Seize Your Adventure
  • Hearing from other people who also have epilepsy 
  • Deciding to start a podcast!
  • What you can expect from the podcast
  • 30 challenges before turning 30th
  • Training for the race to stones (100km race over 2 days)
  • Looking for size 5 trainers 
  • Working through a training plan
  • Mental preparation for the race….
  • Dealing with brain fog
  • Deciding to invite 87 people to come and join her on her challenges throughout 2019
  • The Dos and Don’t when someone is having a seizure 
  • Be kind
  • Final advice and tips 


Social media

Website - 

twitter @franict  

Instagram personal -  @frantictwalks 

Instagram podcast - @SYAdventurers 

May 14, 2019

In need of a break from her career as a dentist and needing to go on an adventure, Memnia signed up to take part in the Clipper Round the World Yacht Race.

Memnia only had limited sailing knowledge prior to the race and had never been out at sea for more than a few hours. For that reason she had originally only signed up for the first leg of the race, crossing the Atlantic, travelling from London to Rio de Janeiro (28 day at sea). 

During the crossing, she fell in love with the sport and the sea, so she carried on signing up for more legs. She continued sailing through some of the most treacherous weather systems and isolated areas of the planet, facing not only the extremes of weather, from boiling to freezing temperatures, but also life threatening situations. She sailed to Cape Town, Albany, Sydney, Hobart, till she reached her final destination, Airlie Beach, Australia - 5 months later. She has covered more than 18,000 Nautical Miles in total, becoming the first and only Cypriot to have sailed from the UK to Australia on a racing sailing boat. 

Today, Memnia splits her time between England and Cyprus, combining dentistry with her love of adventurous activities, including sailing, scuba diving, trekking etc. She has been invited on various stages to share her story, including TEDxNicosia and has evolved as a motivational speaker and workshop trainer, inspiring others through her unique experience to go after their dreams and to reconsider their own lives. She has just completed an all-female expedition (Led by Felicity Aston) trekking on iced river in the remote Zanskar Valley, in Jammu and Kashmir.

Show notes

  • Memnia introduces herself
  • Growing up in Cyprus 
  • Deciding to sail around the world
  • The unfortunate events that happened in her life which led to making this decision
  • Having no regrets
  • Thinking about doing the Clipper Round the World Yacht Race when she was 31
  • Deciding to take the first step and send in her application
  • How she funded the race 
  • Forget about her house deposit!
  • What training was involved 
  • The next steps
  • Her mindset and mental preparation
  • The challenges of being on the boat
  • What the start line was like!
  • Crossing the English Channel
  • What life was like on the boat
  • Figuring out which position suited each person
  • How the break down of the shifts worked
  • How you occupy time while on the deck
  • The power of thinking time
  • The route and taking part in 4 legs
  • Only planning on going to Rio… but ending up in Australia
  • Finding out she was the first Cypriot to sail from the UK to Australia
  • Having her story go viral & getting a sponsor for the final leg
  • Reflecting back on the journey 
  • The memories that stand our for her - the positive and the not so positive
  • Spending 5 months on the water
  • What happened after the end of the race… what was next
  • Being exhausted at the end and needing time to rest and recover
  • Deciding to make some changes to her life
  • Deciding on what makes her happy
  • Doing  a TEDx talk!
  • What Memnia has learned about fear
  • Coming back from an all female expedition with Felicity Aston
  • What she learned about leadership from Felicity
  • How you can following along with Memnia on social media

Social Media



Instagram: @memniatheodorou 

Twitter: @MemniaTh

Memnia also has a newsletter where she share monthly inspiration and motivation to "have the courage to lead the life you've always wanted” Sign up —>> HERE!!

May 9, 2019

We first spoken with Katie in March 2018, where she shared more about her transition from a model to adventurer, she goes into detail about the challenges she faced and overcame while doing the longest crossing of the Southern Patagonian Ice Cap, and being the first woman to walk the entire length of the wall of China! 

Since then Katie has continued to fill her life with many more adventures. Despite her accolades, Katie would still not class her self as the 'typical adventurer type', as she admits she is frightened of everything and is inherently lazy by nature! Her default setting (that she has to constantly override) is to lay on the sofa with a cup of tea, dunking biscuits, watching the likes of Strictly and X Factor on the telly. Getting started is always the hardest bit.

During this podcast we discuss in more detail how the idea came about for completing the 1911 version of the Tour de France as well as the planning, logistics and go into detail about nutrition and having to consume 9,000 calories per day. Katie shares more about her gear, and why she loved being involved in the Silk Road Mountain Race.

Show notes

  • Learn more about Katie-Jane
  • Living in the French Alps
  • Examples of some of her challenges…. Walking the Great Wall of China,  cycled Africa, LEJOG, Fast packing the GR5 plus many many more!
  • Le Grand Boule - The Big Loop - how the idea came about and being inspired by a 1911 postcard of France
  • Making life harder for herself….
  • Deciding to do 5,500km  tour in 23 days….with no support
  • Where do you start with a challenge like this?
  • Mental preparation and overcoming the fears of what other people think of you
  • Not telling people about the challenge until stage 5
  • The first 5 stages?
  • Nailing her nutrition and how it changed the whole challenge
  • Eating 9,000 per day!!
  • Dealing with mouth ulcers
  • Sleep deprivation!
  • Deciding to follow a 36 hour day - instead of a 24 hour day! (Easy on paper - hard in real life!)
  • Recovering from the ride and getting ready for the next challenge
  • The Silk Road Mountain Race - what it is and why she wanted to do it!
  • Why does she think she finished….
  • Dealing with the cold
  • The medical kit and why she took everything she took
  • Finishing the race in 14 days
  • The smallest tent in the world and how it held up - 500 grams 
  • The biggest highlight from doing the race
  • Plans for 2019 and making new decisions
  • Going after her Mountain Leader and International Mountain Leader Qualifications
  • Heading to Iceland in July for a solo adventure
  • What Katie has learnt from going on adventures
  • The power of sharing experiences


Social Media


Instagram: @katiejaneendurance 

Facebook: @katiesenduranceadventures   


May 7, 2019

Anna was a 30-something accountant who dreamed of cycling, hiking and paddling her way around the world, she decided to start with her own country, Australia. But weighing in at 130kgs (285lbs), she’s would say herself that she’s not exactly the poster child for human-powered travel.

During the podcast we talk to Anna about her 3 different challenges, a 1,100-kilometre (700-mile) solo, self-supported cycle tour of the south west of Western Australia, a 1,000-kilometre (600-mile) solo thru-hike of the Bibbulmun Track in Western Australia, and a 3,100-kilometre (1,000 -mile) solo, self-supported cycle tour through the Northern Territory.

After these practice run throughs, Anna end up in Melbourne, which is where she has been ever since. 

Due to a series of mistakes and bad decisions her life takes a turn and not in the direction she wants to go. Anna ends up being a 40 something single women, who is now living below the poverty line, with no family to rely on and no way out, she end up being homeless and going dumpster diving for food and survival. 

Anna shares more about how she views adventure and why she is still living her most adventurous life.

Show notes

  • Living 3 lifetimes in one
  • Planning to travel around the world
  • Life and living in Perth, Australia
  • Hating being sat behind a desk
  • Trying to figure out what she wanted to do
  • Loving to travel….
  • Wanting to make a change to her life
  • Not knowing what planning is….
  • 3 separate trips - “AWOL” (Away With Out Leave)
  • Deciding to get a recumbent bike/trike
  • What family and friends though
  • What the first day was like
  • Almost stopping before she started
  • “It’s too hard, it’s too scary”
  • Meeting road angels
  • Grey Nomads
  • Getting on the road for the first time
  • Knowing she had made the right decision and was on the right track
  • Not believing she would ever make it to the end
  • Dealing with her biggest challenge - Hills
  • Daily routine while out cycling
  • 8 weeks on the road and doing her trip her whole way
  • The negative voices in her head
  • Her weight
  • How completing her first challenge impacted on her self confidence
  • Changing her next challenge to a hike
  • Starting to work with a personal trainer
  • The challenges of hiking
  • “I’m not doing that”
  • What kept her going when she wanted to quit
  • Positive or negative? How she changed her mindset.
  • Training or practice trips….
  • The 3rd AWOL - Getting the train up to Darwin and cycling from Darwin to Porthedland (3100Km / 2000 miles)
  • Dealing with remoteness and why the challenge wasn’t easier
  • Things just kind of workout…
  • Ending up homeless in Melbourne and dumpster diving for food
  • What adventure means now
  • Having an interesting life even though she isn’t travelling
  • Dealing with stress? 
  • Not being desperate to leave 
  • Advice for other women who may be in a challenging situation

Social Media

Website -

Facebook @fatchickgoesawol  


Apr 30, 2019

Born and raised in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, Sara is a passionate climber who spends her weekends and holidays exploring the mountains of her homeland mapping out new boulder fields and establishing first ascents. With the help of her husband, Sara has assisted in establishing almost 100 new boulder problems in the UAE and has outlined 200 more boulders ready for developing.  Sara is currently working with her husband on creating a UAE bouldering guidebook.

In an era when outdoor sports are diversifying and becoming more inclusive, Sara wants to provide inspiration for those, like herself, who have had little representation in the past, and to highlight to Arab women that they need to play an active role in how their country's outdoor sports scene develops. 

When she is not practicing law or exploring the mountains, Sara spends her time empowering young Arab women to pursue a career in law, and has recently been invited to speak on TEDx about this topic further.     

Show notes

  • Who is Sara
  • How the past 2 years have changed her life
  • What life was like growing up in Dubai
  • The emphasis on fitness specifically horse riding
  • What happens when you get older
  • Why outdoor sport aren’t encouraged
  • Why it all changed for her 4 years ago
  • Studying Law in the UK
  • The bad weather in the UK!
  • Loving the discovery of climbs
  • Wanting to create a bouldering guide book for the UAE
  • Why she decided to join the climbing club
  • What she found most challenging at the start
  • Dealing with her fear of flights
  • After graduating and moving back to Dubai and trying to pursue climbing again
  • The challenges of climbing 
  • Being a role model for other women
  • Why aren’t there more Arab women climbing ?
  • How do women get into the climbing scene in Dubai
  • The mountain project 
  • The best spots to climb in the UAE
  • Overcoming the impossible
  • Her role models in climbing
  • What’s next for Sara
  • Night climbing in Dubai
  • Building her website at the moment
  • Final words of advice 
  • Encourage other women especially in the climbing space
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