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: April, 2018
Apr 24, 2018

Fiona Oakes is a British marathon runner, who holds three world records for marathon running. In 2013, she won both the Antarctic Ice Marathon and the North Pole Marathon. She runs despite losing a knee cap from an illness when she was 17.

At 48, she holds three world records, including becoming the fastest woman to run seven marathons in seven continents, plus the north pole, with an aggregate time of 31 hours 11 mins and 53 secs.

Show notes

  • Why Fiona describes herself as an animal advocate
  • Going vegetarian at 3 years old in the 1970s
  • Becoming vegan at 6 years old and her passion for animals
  • Becoming an advocate for animals and needing a platform to speak out
  • Where the running came from
  • Working in London and coming from a cycling background
  • Starting to jog to keep fit
  • Not having a knee cap!!
  • Considering herself as an amateur runner (even though running a 2.38 marathon!)
  • Working out everything for herself
  • Having determination and grit, but no talent…
  • Deciding to go after ultras such as Marathon des Sables
  • Running in pain
  • The London marathon and training for it - and why you have to be brave to run a marathon
  • Fitting training into her life - getting up at 3.30 am
  • Her running routine to run a 2.38 marathon
  • The magic for moving up a level in running - SPEED WORK!!
  • Signing on to be available for the fire service
  • Diet and why it is not a priority
  • Not taking supplements, no gels or recovery drinks
  • Vegan marshmallows!
  • Eating one meal a day and not snacking
  • Why she focuses on her feet
  • Being on a very tight budget both financial and time wise
  • Stomach problems while running
  • Her most magical race
  • The Marathon des Sables
  • Being invited to run the North Pole Marathon!
  • Learning a lot about herself while running
  • Vegan running club
  • 4 Deserts Grand Slam!
  • How you can help and support!


Social Media

Fiona Oakes Foundation -

Facebook - 

Twitter - @Marathonfiend 


Tower Hill Stables Animal Sanctuary - 

Facebook - 

Twitter - @towerhillstable 

Apr 17, 2018

Cazz has developed a liking for taking on challenges that usually involve her walking long distances, running long distances, or swimming long distance! She’s a big fan of spontaneous adventures, dancing in the rain and eating cake!

In June 2018, Cazz is pushing the boat out (pun intended) and rowing 2400 miles across the Pacific Ocean, she’s competing in the Great Pacific Race!  Along with two other women she’ll row from California to Hawaii in a 26ft Ocean Rowing Boat! There aim is to be the first ever crew of three (male or female) to row the Pacific and the youngest crew of three females to row any ocean in the world! 

Show notes

  • Growing up
  • Taking a gap year, travelling around South East Asia and going off to university
  • Her passion for sports and adventure, being new to the adventure scene
  • Travelling solo at 18 and being encouraged to go by her parents
  • Playing sports at school and loving athletics even though she’s not amazing at it!
  • Her first big challenge or challenges - 12 challenges in 12 months!
  • Wanting to get better at running
  • 100K around the Isle of Wight 
  • Her first 5K and her fear of coming last
  • What she learnt from her first ultra which she has used going forward
  • Going from a half marathon straight to an ultra!
  • Not having a plan for her first ultra….
  • Being scared of running through the night
  • Hitting the bad patches through the race and pushing through
  • Where her resilience and determination comes from
  • Liking the pain and wanting to prove people wrong
  • Being broken after the race.. & losing 6 toe nails after the event
  • Blisters…. How can they stop you from running?
  • Planning… or not planning and just going in at the deep end.
  • What she learnt from doing 12 challenges in 12 months
  • Being happier being around the water
  • How the pacific row came about…
  • Getting to the start line, the crew changes and raising the money needed
  • The money!! £80,000 for a crew of 4…
  • Rowing for MIND and to raise awareness for plastic pollution
  • The Great Pacific Race
  • Breaking down the planning while working full time
  • What she thinks the biggest challenge will be
  • Testing the boat and preparing for bad weather
  • Keeping the motivation going while training and why having a Personal Trainer helps
  • Final words of advice


Personal -

Pacific Traffic - 

Apr 10, 2018

Charlene Gibson grew up as a studious bookworm, who wasn't keen on the outdoors. She is an only child who was brought up by her Mum and Nana in a pretty rough area of Scotland, near Glasgow. Although an avid reader of Enid Blyton's Famous Five books, there was really nothing adventurous about her at all. However, in her mid 30s, following the break-up of a long-term relationship, she discovered her inner adventurer when, to avoid spending Christmas alone, she booked on a trekking holiday to Morocco. Despite the horror of having to nip behind a rock, armed with only a roll of toilet paper and some matches, she discovered that she loved the trip (albeit still not quite used to nipping behind a rock!) and decided that she wanted more. Trips to Turkey, Morocco (again), Kazakhstan, India, Peru and Nepal followed, with each trip being more strenuous and challenging than the last. That could only lead to one thing - mountaineering!

In 2013 she decided to aim high and successfully summited Mera Peak in Nepal, which is classed as a 'trekking' peak. Despite the success, it highlighted to her the limits of her mountaineering skillset and how fortunate she'd been that nothing had gone wrong. Several high-quality mountaineering courses later and rather more experience under her belt saw her looking for a worthy challenge to help celebrate (or commiserate) turning 50 in 2016. And what better challenge than attempting an 8000m peak for the first time.

On 1st October 2016, Charlene became the oldest British woman to summit Cho Oyu (8201m) and living proof that the most unlikely people can sometimes do the most surprising things - it's certainly been a surprise to her mother.

As of March 2018, her Cho Oyu record still stands, but will be under threat in Spring 2018, when two British women will be vying for it.

Charlene's next challenge is to attempt Ama Dablam in October 2018

Show notes

  • Growing up in Scotland and joining the civil service
  • Growing up as an only child, with not much interest in the outside
  • Starting trekking in 2000
  • Hating PE and doing everything she could to get out of it
  • Getting into mountain biking, but never describing herself as outdoorsy
  • Breaking up with the boyfriend after 12 years
  • Deciding not to spend Christmas and New Year alone
  • Heading to Morocco to trek for 2 weeks and getting hooked!
  • First time going on holiday by herself and feeling nervous
  • Taking that first step and not knowing what to expect
  • Why it’s about challenging yourself and not about other people
  • Enjoying being uncomfortable and starting to understand more about her limits
  • Dealing with lost luggage & how to handle it!
  • Being shy and dealing with the group dynamics
  • Developing fitness and starting to run - even though she doesn’t like running and would never call herself a runner!
  • The Everest Marathon - being fit and healthy enough to start it.
  • Rally Driving from Plymouth to Dakar (in a free car costing less than £100!) 
  • Looking for a change in 2013! Deciding on mountaineering!
  • Summiting Mera Peak in Nepal and wanting to see how she coped with the altitude
  • Developing technical skills… while on the trip and doing courses to continue to develop the skills needed
  • Tibet - 1st October 2016 - Climbing Cho Oyu (6th highest mountain in the world!) 8,201 metres!
  • Wanting to do something special for her 50th birthday
  • Summit night and struggling with acclimatisation and not knowing if she was going to make it 
  • Reflecting back on what she’s achieved - especially in relation to knowing her own personal limits!
  • What’s next!! - Climbing Ama Dablam in Oct 2018!
  • Running and working with a personal trainer!
  • Advice and tips for stepping outside your comfort zone and why going the commercial route could work for you
  • How she funds her trips and why she pays for it herself
  • Doing mountaineering for herself

Social Media

Twitter - @MadOldCatWoman


Apr 5, 2018

Catching up with Anna-Marie Watson who we last spoke with a year ago. Anna-Marie constantly pushes her own mental and physical boundaries and has achieved considerable success at an elite international level in various endurance sports. Anna-Marie combines the disciplines of ultra running and long distance triathlon with the odd adventure race thrown in for good measure.  

Her endurance journey spans over thirteen years with an initial gentle introduction with the London marathon (2004 and 2007), CCC race of the UTMB series (2007) and Everest Marathon (2007). Recent ultra-running career highlights include placing 7th lady in the Ultra Trail de Mont Blanc (2017), 1st lady in Half Marathon des Sables Fuerteventura (2017) and finishing 2nd lady in the Marathon des Sables (2015) .  

Over the last two years Anna-Marie has achieved podium finishes in the multi day trail runs organised by XNRG Cotswolds Way, Round the Island, Devil's Challenge along the South Downs Way, then placed 1st Lady in the Brutal Events The ONER (130km) along the Jurassic Coast and Ultra Trail World Tour Future Series Cappadocia 110km Ultra in Central Turkey. 

She also ventures over to the "dark side" of triathlon and has raced the Ironman 70.3 World Championships twice in Las Vegas and Mont Tremblant placing in the top third of her age group.

Show notes

  • The big goal of 2017 - UTMB 
  • What is the UTMB - Ultra Trail Mount Blanc - 170Km
  • The ultra of all ultras…
  • The backstory to the race and why this race captured her imagination
  • Spending time in Chamonix 
  • Getting outside her comfort zone during the race
  • What she’s learnt throughout the years!
  • Racing in the dark and how she trains for it
  • Building up the strength in her legs
  • Rest and recovery, top tips - epsom salt baths & yoga toes!
  • Focusing in on training for UTMB
  • Going on a triathlon training camp 
  • Planning her season very tactically
  • Maintaining motivation while training especially when it’s cold and dark
  • Biggest challenge to overcome while training - TIME!
  • Struggling with balance
  • The run up the race and why it wasn’t chill!
  • Wanting to get going…. dealing with bad weather …. -9
  • Being on the start line.. what it was like!
  • Having a goal for the race and why she wanted to enjoy it
  • Wanting to give it her all
  • The race and knowing the route!
  • Routines at checkpoint
  • Nutrition and managing nutrition while racing
  • The moment which stood out during the race
  • The mental mindset while racing!
  • How to end the race strong - 7th women! 93rd overall! 1st British Lady!
  • What she learnt from the race
  • Being destroyed
  • Half Marathon des Sables
  • So what’s next…& creating the space for things happen!
  • Ranking in races and winning a place at MDS 2018!

Social Media

Website & Blog:

Twitter: @RFMCoaching

Facebook: @RFMCoaching 

Instagram: @RFMCoaching 

Apr 3, 2018

As her day job, Katherine works as a physiotherapist for the Swedish Olympic sailing team. In her double life she is a qualified Yachtmaster Ocean, offshore racer and has won international speed sailing competitions and the women's European title in her foiling Moth. She has sailed in the far north and rounded Cape Horn. However and wherever she has travelled, her inspiration has remained the same, to share the beauty and fun of playing outdoors and inspire everyone to follow their own adventure.

Show notes

  • Growing up in the Midlands
  • Being a sailor since she was a young age
  • Where her love of sailing came from
  • Wanting to turn her hobby into a job
  • Female role models growing up
  • Going back to uni and training as a physics
  • Working with the Olympic sailing team, and getting to head to London & Rio
  • Sailing a ‘Moth’
  • Competing at the Europeans and the world championships
  • Learning new skills & trying new boats out
  • Meeting new people who became like a family
  • Training to get in shape for sailing
  • What it’s like at a sailing championships and how it all works
  • What’s most challenging when competing
  • The most memorable moment from competing 
  • Staying calm under pressure
  • Framing the situation and how it can help in situations
  • Narwhal Expeditions and wanting to get more into the exploring of the world
  • Wanting to share more of her travel experiences with other people
  • Future expedition plans
  • What life is like living on the boat full time
  • Spending time in Scotland on Narwhal
  • The ultimate dream… the North West Passage
  • Book - How to have an Adventure
  • Planning an expedition - top tips
  • Making your expedition a reality and why it comes down to your mindset
  • Chocolate bars…. and chunking it down into smaller pieces to make it more manageable
  • Advice for finding your passion
  • Why you need to listen to yourself
  • Spending Spring in South America
  • The bucket list!
  • Wanting to learn to Scuba Dive!
  • Advice and tips for your next challenge and why you need to get out there and make it happen!

Social Media


Facebook: @YachtNarwhal 

Twitter: @YachtNarwhal 

Instagram: @YachtNarwhal