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: 2018
Jul 3, 2018

Ghazala, was born in 1963, in Lahore, Pakistan, when still a baby, her family moved to London and she grew up in Twickenham. She has led an active life, being involved in rock-climbing, mountaineering, running, skiing and swimming, both in the UK and abroad. She loves the outdoors and now lives in the beautiful Derbyshire Peak District.

She is married to the mountaineer Roger Mear, who in 1986, with Robert Swan and Gareth Wood, made the first unsupported walk to the South Pole with the expedition ‘In the Footsteps of Scott’. For this achievement, all three members were awarded the Queen’s Polar Medal.  

In 1996, she was diagnosed with Hodgkin’s Lymphoma and had a year off work for chemotherapy and radiotherapy. Focusing on the positive aspects and being determined to be well, both physically and emotionally, helped her through that year. Having been a keen long distance runner, and never accepting that she would be anything other than recovered after her treatment, the following year with a 30% reduction in lung function, she ran the Sheffield Marathon.

The whole experience, despite the difficulties, was positive for Ghazala and it enabled her to develop resilience, determination, humility, compassion and patience. During this podcast we learn more about Ghazala, her life, the decisions she’s made to get to where she is and what she’s learned along the way.

Show notes

  • Living in the beautiful peak district and working as a surgeon in Sheffield
  • Who is Ghazala and why she loves fitness
  • Becoming an environmentalist
  • Having 2 sons - 14 and 10 years old
  • Having to adjust her life after children
  • Loving to swim in the open air swimming pool
  • Growing up in Twickenham with 3 brothers
  • Joining the mountaineering club at University and getting into walking and rock climbing
  • Meeting her husband on the summit of the Matterhorn 
  • Being at a crossroads in her life
  • Getting access to the mountains
  • Taking on big wall climbing - Angels Landing
  • Ice climbing in Scotland 
  • Balancing life as a surgeon, with climbing and children
  • Keeping up running after her first child
  • Getting help with the children
  • Being 3 stone overweight after the birth of her first child and getting back into fitness
  • 1996 being diagnosed with Hodgkin’s Lymphoma
  • Learning patience and having gratitude 
  • Going on a healing course and working through personal issues
  • Deciding to love her tumour
  • Setting a new challenge after chemo 
  • Completing the Sheffield Marathon and being able to move on from the illness
  • Building her confidence back up 
  • A big road/climbing trip
  • The South Pole Energy Challenge - to walk the final 60 miles (the final degree)
  • 2041 Foundation 
  • The significance of 2041
  • Step by step helping to raise awareness and raising funds for the challenge
  • Par helium and wanting to see it
  • Tips for fundraising and getting sponsorship
  • Being on the ice for 2.5 weeks - getting hypothermia and how she dealt with it
  • Taking the positives from a negative situation 
  • Final words of advice
  • Why music plays a big part of her life

Social Media

Website -  

Twitter - @ghazala_mear  


Jun 28, 2018

Felicity's Polar career began in the year 2000, when she travelled to Antarctica for the first time with the British Antarctic Survey as a Meteorologist. Aged just 23 she spent a continuous period of two and a half years (including two consecutive winters) at Rothera Research Station on the Antarctic Peninsula to monitor climate and ozone.

Felicity went on to organise and lead numerous expeditions to remote places around the world, but particularly to the Polar Regions. Her expeditions have included the first British Women’s crossing of Greenland, a 6000km drive to the South Pole, a 36,000km drive to the Pole of Cold, and leading the largest and most international team of women ever to ski to the South Pole.

Felicity continues to explore, specialising in new and exciting ways to communicate the expedition experience to the wider world. Her Kaspersky Lab Commonwealth Antarctic Expedition was the first to ‘Tweet to the Pole’ and material from her Pole of Cold expedition has been developed into a travelling art exhibition. She has written three books Call of the White: Taking the World to the South Pole (2011), Alone in Antarctica (2013), Chasing Winter: A Journey to the Pole of Cold (2014).

Most recently she was behind, The Women's Euro-Arabian North Pole Expedition 2018. Which was an international team of women from across Europe and the Middle East who set out to ski the last degree to the North Pole in April 2018. The expedition faced many physical challenges – with temperatures down to -40°C, polar bears and shifting pack ice - but the core purpose of the expedition was to foster greater dialogue and understanding between women from Western and Arabian cultures. In addition, the expedition worked to inspire all women to reach beyond the expectation of others to fullfil their own ultimate life ambitions.

Show notes

  • First speaking back in November 2015!
  • Putting together expeditions to visit very cold places
  • Why the Arctic?
  • Spending the summer on a Russian Icebreaker going back and forth to the North Pole
  • Wanting to put together another expedition with a new set of challenges
  • The new challenges in the Arctic!
  • Her role on the icebreaker 
  • The Women's Euro-Arabian North Pole Expedition 2018
  • Turning her idea into a reality
  • Taking the first step in finding a team
  • Putting it out on her website and getting over 1,000 responses!
  • Meeting the team for the first time at a training expedition in September 2016
  • Teamwork and why it is so important for expeditions in the Arctic
  • Trying to understand their motivation and why they wanted to do this challenge
  • September 2016 and the first time the team comes together.
  • Handing the cold and the extreme temperatures
  • Dealing with a cold injury and having frostbite
  • The expedition and what was involved
  • Having to be prepared for Polar Bears while out on the ice and dealing with the cold!
  • The journey to the pole - sponsorship, fitness and the costs involved.
  • Training in the desert and why there was benefits especially in regards to navigation and team bonding
  • The costs of the expedition & getting sponsorship 
  • The challenges of having a large team of 12
  • Physical training…. and getting fit for the challenge
  • Mental fitness - and not wanting to be over confident or complacent
  • Leadership style and how Felicity leads and why she was not the guide 
  • What Felicity learned from the expedition 
  • Plans for the future
  • Documentary and books!
  • Advice for women who do want to step outside their comfort zone
  • Why there is never a good time to do what you want to do
  • The book she has been meaning to write for 10 years!!

Social Media

Website - 

Twitter - @felicity_aston 


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

Feeling inspired week after week? 

You can do 3 easy things to help me continue to grow the podcast!

  1. Subscribe to the podcast in iTunes, so you won’t miss a single episode
  2. If you’re loving the podcast, please leave a 5-star review on iTunes! I read every single comment!
  3. Share the podcast with your friends, especially if you think it could help them, and spread the #ToughGirlPodcast love. 

Your support helps me continue to grow the podcast and do inspiring things in this space! Already done all 3? You’re a rockstar! Thank you!

Want to do more?

Please become a Patron and donate a small fixed amount every month to help fund the runnings costs.


Jun 26, 2018

During this podcast we do discuss content, that some listeners could find disturbing, although nothing explicit happens or is discussed, it is more around the fears that women have going on solo adventures, and the threats that they may come across, Olivia talks very personally about her fears and how they developed, and how she took steps to overcome them.  It is discussed in a very sensitive manor, but I just want to make you aware before you listen further that any women who has faced these threats, or been a survivor may not wish to listen to this episode.


Olivia Round is a storyteller, artist, and cyclist currently living in Seattle, Washington, USA. Originally raised in the small town of Ketchikan, Alaska, Olivia enjoyed many grand adventures... and never stopped. In 2011, at the age of twenty two, she embarked on a 5,000 mile solo bicycle journey across the United States, in an effort to face her deep-seated phobia of men. Olivia is now writing a memoir of that transformative cross-country adventure. Learn more about her story, and the stories of other cycling women, at

“Overcoming FEAR through ADVENTURE”

Show notes

  • Where Olivia is based
  • Being a writer and a biker (bicycle!)
  • Growing up in Alaska with only 40 miles of road, on a small island with only 12,000 people
  • Christmas presents….. of flights & family holidays!
  • Not talking about biking!
  • Being inspired by her mum and wanting to be a wild eccentric!
  • Thinking she would be the first woman to cross the USA on a bike
  • If you can’t see it - how can you become it?
  • Her secret - being afraid of men
  • Where her fears came from and trying to understand them
  • Feeling doomed and horrified about the world
  • I was Olivia the little girl who was afraid of men
  • Not wanting to let go of her phobia of men 
  • Why it was more scary not to face this
  • Tackling the phobia with a 5,000 mile bike ride!
  • Wanting to figure it out for herself and why solo travel was the decision she made
  • Heading to Chile for 3 months to volunteer on organic farms
  • Where the idea came from for her big cycle ride
  • The next step she took to make her dream a reality
  • Research via the internet, the library and speaking to anyone who had a bike!
  • Why she never thought that she’d be able to make it
  • Why she decided to try
  • Dealing with other fears before the start line
  • Practising meditation and thinking about worst case scenarios and how to deal with them
  • The logistics behind the journey
  • Making use of
  • The start of the adventure!
  • Having a spot tracker and why she was so glad she had it
  • Routines while on the road
  • The magic moments from her trip
  • Wanting to quit many times!
  • Getting to the end of the trip
  • Missing out the last 15 miles!
  • Taking the time to reflect back on her journey!
  • Being inspired by Cheryl Strayed 
  • Her book and looking for an agent! 
  • New story on the Out There Podcast


Social Media


Facebook:  @oliviaroundbikes 

Instagram: @roundolivia  

Twitter: @0liviaR0und  

Jun 19, 2018

Leanne was a City exec until March 2012, when she resigned after suffering from burnout and alcoholism. She spent a few weeks in rehab before coming out and redesigning her entire lifestyle at age 37. Leanne trained to be a personal trainer, and worked as a sole trader for a while before setting up her company Bodyshot Performance. 

During that time, she build up a team and stepped away from personal training herself. She’s written two bestselling books, done a TEDx Talk, won a business award, contributed to Thrive Global and is paid to speak.

Leanne, has run the London Marathon 4x, Completed the Scotland Coast to Coast Races 3x. Which involves – 105 miles across Scotland over two days via bike, foot and kayak. She’s also done, Man v Mountain – which is a 22 mile run up Snowdon and down via obstacle course. Leanne is currently training on roller-skis for the Arctic Circle Race for 2019 which is– a 160km cross-country ski race where participants are entirely self-sufficient (3 day event).

Show notes

  • Where Leanne is based, & her gorgeous dog!
  • Who Leanne is ?
  • Growing up and what life was like when she was younger
  • Working in the city and balancing health and fitness
  • Drinking, and having a party lifestyle in her 20s
  • Deciding to leave the city and changing her life
  • Giving up alcohol and deciding to do what she was passionate about - business and health
  • Becoming a personal trainer and starting her company BodyShot
  • Going to rehab for 6 weeks
  • Not having a plan when she resigned from her job
  • What she changed when she came out of rehab
  • Doing her own personal challenges while being a PT
  • Training for the London Marathon
  • Her second marathon and the challenges she faced!
  • Running in fancy dress, during the hottest ever London Marathon!
  • Advice for other runners who want to do a marathon!
  • Why having a coach is a good idea!
  • Fundraising and fundraising fatigue
  • Doing the Arctic Circle Race in 2019!
  • Why she wanted to do this challenge!!
  • Training via roller-skiing!!
  • Planning as a pair for the Arctic Challenge
  • Looking at funding and sponsorship
  • The mental side of the preparation
  • Fear… and why you have to be mindful of it - her tips and tricks for managing it
  • Meditation and why having a daily session works for her
  • Books  - Rise and shine & Remove the Guess Work
  • Remove the Guess Work Podcast - what it is and who it is aimed for
  • Being strong of mind, body and spirit

Social Media

Website - 

Facebook - @BodyshotPT 

Twitter @bodyshotpt 

Instagram @bodyshotperformance 


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

If you have questions about me, the podcast, what I’m doing… then please check out my website

If you want to do more to help increase the amount of female role models in the media, please, subscribe to the podcast in iTunes, so you won’t miss a single episode.

If you’re loving the podcast, please leave a 5-star review and share the podcast with your friends, to spread the #ToughGirlPodcast love. 


If you have questions regarding the Marathon des Sables - Please read  - Tough Girl Sahara Challenge 

If you have questions regarding climbing Kilimanjaro - Please read - Kilimanjaro Tips for The Top


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Become a Patron and donate every month to help fund my mission

If you want to support the mission - you can also donate via PayPal 



Jun 12, 2018

Mirna’s transformation into a long-distance runner happened slowly. It started with doing a mile at a time and then eventually she worked her way up to a 5-kilometer race. Then that led to a 5K, then a 10K, which led to a half marathon, which led to her first marathon in 2011.

Mirna started her blog in 2011, Fat Girl Running while training for this marathon as a way to share stories with her friends and family. The blog is about being an active larger girl in a thinner world via the individual yet universal sport of running.

Mirna, uses the blog to write about her training routines, race experiences and obstacles that she faces as "an active larger girl in a thinner world.” Her personal accounts have helped her become a source of inspiration for other female athletes. "People took comfort in the fact that I was experiencing the same things that they were but I was still out there running. It didn't stop me.”

As her story grew, so did her running goals. Marathons turned into ultra-marathons. The longest race she has run so far is 100K; that's 62 miles. And she's not looking to slow down anytime soon. Mirna, continues to challenge stereotypes and inspires others to do the same.

Mirna’s ultimate running goal, is the Trans Rockies Race, which is a multi-stage, 6-day, 120-mile run through the Rocky Mountains!


"I think most people who are my size and in athletic pursuit, we exude something different. There is a joy in what we do and we love to spread that joy to other people. Especially if it motivates them and inspires them to be athletes."


Show notes

  • Being based in the North Georgia Mountains
  • Preparing to move house back to New Jersey
  • Growing up in NYC
  • Being known as - Fat Girl Running & the Mirnavator
  • Blogging about being a larger women who runs
  • Representing plus sized women in athletics
  • Being sporty as a child
  • Why she started running in high school
  • Why she loves running
  • Making transitions from high school to college and from college to work
  • Having her son and how it changed her life
  • Being discouraged from sports by the adults in her life
  • Going after her first marathon
  • Starting the blog and wanting to share her adventures with her friends and family
  • Not wanting to focus on weightless
  • Training for the marathon while blogging
  • Dealing with a fractured ankle
  • Getting hooked on running and wanting to do more marathons
  • Dealing with the physical pain while running
  • Dealing with criticism about her size
  • Deciding to go after her first ultra marathon in 2012
  • What her training looks like
  • Working with a coach
  • Being invited to run at the Boston Marathon
  • Speed work!
  • Her mantra - “small steps - big distance”
  • The Boston Marathon - Taking it in 2 mile chunks 
  • Fuelling her long runs and working on her nutrition 
  • Dealing with chaffing
  • How her running has impacted on her friends and family
  • Spending time in Portugal doing a trail race
  • Dealing with a DNF
  • Dealign with the pressure of being a public figure while out running
  • Wanting to run a stage race in Colorado! The Trans Rockies Race 
  • Saying yes to new opportunities
  • What’s she’s learnt from running these races and distances
  • Advice for other women
  • Why you should buy her book -  A Beautiful Work in Progress


Social Media

Blog - Fat Girl Running

Instagram @TheMirnavator 

Facebook - Personal Page  @MirnaValerio

Facebook - Athlete Page -  Mirna Valerio - The Mirnavator 


Feeling inspired week after week? 

You can do 3 easy things to help me continue to grow the podcast!

  1. Subscribe to the podcast in iTunes, so you won’t miss a single episode
  2. If you’re loving the podcast, please leave a 5-star review on iTunes! I read every single comment!
  3. Share the podcast with your friends, especially if you think it could help them, and spread the #ToughGirlPodcast love. 

Your support helps me continue to grow the podcast and do inspiring things in this space! Already done all 3? You’re a rockstar! Thank you!

Want to do more?

Please become a Patron and donate a small fixed amount every month to help fund the runnings costs. 




Jun 5, 2018

Moire is a a bit of an extreme sports junkie. She’s been involved in the mountain running scene in Ireland for over a decade. In 2013, she got into a relatively new sport: multi-sport adventure racing, where individual races can involve disciplines such as biking, running, and kayaking, on both smooth road and rocky mountain surfaces. Moire has adventure raced the Quest GlendaloughGaelforce West and Westport Sea2Summit.

Moire ended up winning the Irish National Adventure Racing Series in 2014, 2016 and 2017. At the same time, her husband and her were starting a family, with her first son Aran being born in 2013 and her second son Cahal being born in 2015. 

Moire has written two books, the first in 2011,  Mud Sweat and Tears and her second, Bump, Bike and Baby in 2018, where she shares more of her journey with having a family while juggling training and racing across the country!

Show Notes

  • Living in Northern Ireland
  • Growing up in Derry 
  • Being a juggler and balancing many different roles
  • Being a mother, a runner, an adventure racer and author
  • What she was liking growing up
  • Living in Kenya for her 20s before moving back to Ireland in her 30s
  • Getting into mountains running for the first time (both hating it and loving it at the same time)
  • Irish Mountain Running Association (IMRA)
  • What she loves about mountain running and why she likes who she is while running
  • Managing the fear of running down hill at speed
  • The Wicklow Round - the history of the challenge and the planning involved for it
  • 2008 giving it ago and learning huge amounts.. What if I….
  • Mentally getting over setbacks and making the transition to wanting to give it another go
  • Why she doesn’t overthink challenges and focuses on breaking them down
  • Training schedule and working with a coach
  • Pregnancy, babies and the impact on her life and training
  • Judgement about doing exercise (running, mountain biking weight lifting), while being pregnant 
  • What it was like after having her first child…
  • Susie Mitchell -Book “Pregnancy to Podium” and 4 months later winning a world masters track cycling title!
  • Training for her next adventure race and breast feeding!
  • Losing bladder control while racing and what you can do about it
  • Having a 2 year old and a 4 year old
  • Her love of bike rollers!
  • The next challenge - Quest Wales (Adventure race!)
  • The Dennis Rankin Round - the challenge, 24 hrs, 40 peaks and starting at 3 am
  • Lets talk about pooing and getting your period while out running
  • Books - Mud Sweat and Tears, Bump Bike & Baby 


Social Media

Twitter: @moireosullivan



Mud, Sweat and Tears

Bump, Bike and Baby

May 29, 2018

Helen joined a running club four years ago mainly because she needed a new social scene that didn’t involve drinking! She threw herself in to the club scene, going to cross countries at weekends and it was a revelation. For a city girl like Helen, hanging out in a cold, muddy field on a Saturday and buying thermals and waterproofs was a complete change of life! At her first race she didn’t even own a backpack so carried kit in a designer tote bag! But each time she survived a day in the cold, it made her want to test more boundaries. 

Helen, started road cycling, open water swimming and then triathlons. For two years she filled almost every weekend with a new endurance challenge - She did a 112 mile cycle through the Peak District, a 5km ocean swim between two islands in Greece, and spend two days of fell running in Isle of Wight.

Two years later, she qualified for the age-group World Champs triathlon and got to go to Chicago and compete in GB kit. In her book she talks about how outdoor sport changed her life and outlook. Not only has it made her physically stronger but it also made her mentally tough, calmer and more patient. She stopped being a slave to glamour and feminine ideals, and made her appreciate what a beautiful country we live in and introduced her to a whole new wholesome social scene. 

Her goals is to inspires more women to get into sport and she’s passionate about getting women to discover their adventurous side.

Show notes

  • Author, Journalist and producer working freelance
  • This Girl Ran: Tales of a Party Girl Turned Triathlete is a memoir about ditching a glamorous city girl lifestyle,  toughening through outdoor sport, and two years later qualifying to be a GB age-group triathlete.
  • Never seeing herself as sport but loving the outdoors
  • Losing her love for the outdoors and becoming an indoors person
  • Wanting to be fit and using the gym and being very image conscious.
  • Fitness is not a chore and the realisation of what the body and mind can do
  • Joining a local running club and discovering how much she loved it
  • Why she wanted to make this change at 36
  • Making new friends and ditching drinking
  • Deciding to run 10 miles on her first run with the running club
  • Feeling a sense of achievement and getting hooked
  • Buying a bike and cycling to running club   
  • How it changed her life   
  • Her first race and how it led to future challenges
  • Signing up for a half marathon and going on a triathlon training holiday!
  • The imposter syndrome and dealing with fears
  • Being torn between the old person and the new person
  • Her first triathlon race and why it stands out in her memory
  • When Helen has learnt most from doing triathlons that she has applied to other parts of her life
  • Qualifying for the age group world championships after 2 years of starting triathlon! (June 2015)
  • Deciding on whether or not to get a coach
  • What training looked like and being near breaking point
  • Racing in Chicago! Being in GB Kit and getting to meet other athletes
  • Feeling lonely at the race and feeling low at the end 
  • Why she changed her attitude after the race and relaxed her regime 
  • Cycling to Paris and planning to cycle the South Down’s Way
  • Tips and advice for other women and why you have to know your reason why
  • Why you just have to go - no thinking - just get up and go!


Social Media

Website  -  

Twitter - @helen_croydon


May 22, 2018

In the spring of 2010, Susan decided to take on the Inside Passage which is an extraordinary coastal route, with some of the most spectacular fjords and convoluted coastlines in the world. It’s a narrow artery that connects with and is part of the sixty-four million square miles that comprise the Pacific Ocean. It is one of the most scenic and most challenging paddling trip in North America, it’s been touted as a holy grail for paddlers.

Her journey, was a 1200 mile, mostly solo paddle adventure down the western coast of North America from Anacortes, Washington to Juneau, Alaska. During the 66 day she was out there, she experienced the astounding power and beauty of nature. She paddled in drenching rains, fierce winds, and violent seas.

Susan had scaled her world down to an 18-foot sea kayak and started to run toward her dreams. Her dream wasn’t only to paddle the Inside Passage. It was also to challenge herself and see how she would handle adversity and discover how that adversity would make her a better version of herself. It was about experiencing that heady sense of freedom that comes from being alone in the wilderness and making her own decisions, relying on her abilities, her strength and courage … Listen to the tough girl podcast, it’s pretty powerful stuff!

Show notes

  • Where Susan is based
  • Who Susan is?
  • Growing up on a farm in Upstate New York
  • Getting into paddling and the outdoors
  • Her passion for white water kayaking
  • Starting her own paddle sports company
  • What it was like becoming a guide and why she was terrified at the start
  • Being taken by the solo experience
  • The Inside Passage
  • Her inspiration and the power of having someone believe in you
  • Losing her father and going through a painful time
  • Starting to make poor choices in her life
  • Looking for a new goal and wanting to press that reset button
  • Being prepared both physically, mentally, logistically and also on an emotional level
  • Being a firm believer in positive visualisation
  • 66 Days on the water
  • Talking about fear and her fears before the journey started
  • The first day of the challenge, what it was like
  • When reality set in and the ‘challenge’ started
  • Learning patience from the sea
  • The magical moments verses the miserable moments
  • Hitting the reset button and being able to centre herself
  • The ultimate magical moment which sticks in her memory
  • Having 15 miles left to go
  • The inner and outer journey
  • Reflecting back on the journey and what she’s learned on the way
  • Why the sea can be such a good teacher
  • Writing her book and reliving the memories
  • Itching to do a new challenge - and setting a new goal!
  • Get the book!
  • Final word of advice and why you need to get clear on what you want to accomplish!


Social Media

Website -  

Twitter - @SusanMConrad 

Instagram - @susanmarieconrad 

Facebook - 


May 15, 2018

Hannah Engelkamp is a travel writer and ex-outdoor-magazine editor who bought a donkey, ‘the eccentric and handsome Chico’,  29 maps, and set off to walk the 1000-mile circumference of Wales. The journey took nearly six months, twice as long as her original estimate!

During this podcast we talk more about her life, being involved in adventure,  why she loves small adventures in the UK. Where she got the idea from and why she decided to take on this challenge. For those who have recently had children Hannah also shared more about how her life has changed since and what the impact has been with regards to adventure and fitness.

Show notes

  • Growing up in Wales
  • Being a magazine editor  and working in the adventure industry
  • How adventure has played a role in her life and what has inspired her
  • Where the idea first came from 
  • Why she decided to tell people about her idea!
  • The problems with stiles and kissing gates!
  • Deciding to take a Donkey with her!
  • Chico the donkey and why he was a special kind of donkey!
  • Planning the trip
  • Working as a freelancer in London
  • Why it was easier to take off 3 months than 3 weeks
  • Dealing with the extra logistics of travelling with a donkey!
  • Her fears and worries before the trip started - and why they were mostly donkey related!
  • The complex relationship with Chico 
  • The life lessons she learned
  • The challenges of route planning
  • Knowing that she would next want to quit
  • Making friends with Chico…
  • Dealing with the hills and the magical moments 
  • Being ready to finish the walk in November
  • Adding another donkey into the mix for the final 40 miles!
  • Why going on this adventure helped her with her first child
  • What happened to Chico after the walk!
  • The next challenge - walking to the town of Cardigan in Wales
  • How has life changed after having a child
  • The toughness of being a parent…
  • Learn more about the book and the film!
  • Final words of advice for new mothers who want to incorporate adventure into your life


Social Media

Personal website - 

Twitter - @hannahengelkamp  

Facebook - @SeasideDonkey 


BONUS TRACK! With Lauren from Discover Outdoors!

Get your tickets for Women in the Outdoors Week HERE!

NYC - 11th June - 17th June


May 8, 2018

Sacha is an Australian-born conservationist, adventurer and motivational speaker. She works for the Wildfowl and Wetlands Trust (WWT) in the UK. Over the past 20 years, Berwick swan numbers have nearly halved with just 20,000 remaining in the wild but experts are unsure what is causing the population crash. Sacha had an idea to investigate the problem, which she though was crazy at first.

However, after 18 months of planning in the winter of 2016, Sacha decided to followed their entire 7,000 km migration route from Arctic Russia to the UK. She did this by flying with the birds on a paramotor. Essentially hanging from a paraglider with a propellor on her back! 

During this podcast, we learn more about her early life, growing up in Australia, before moving over to the UK. Sacha also shares more about her life as a champion free-diver! She provides advices and top tips that you’ll be able to apply to your next challenge or adventure! 

Show notes

  • Who is Sacha Dench?
  • Growing upon Sydney and spending a lot of time outdoors
  • Moving to the bush with her mum, having a very basic upbringing 
  • Getting comfortable being out in remote places
  • How she got to school!
  • Moving to the UK
  • Never really being into sports
  • Working out that she was very good at holding her breath!
  • Free diving and how it came about..
  • Free diving in the UK? 
  • Understanding more about Free Diving - what it is and what it’s like being under the water
  • Learning to understand how your body behaves while doing ‘breath holds’
  • Learning how to stay calm and to keep adrenaline under control
  • The transferable skills of free diving - such as mind control and keeping calm
  • The Flight of the Swans... 
  • The reason - Declining swan numbers making the migration from arctic Russia to northern Europe. From 29,000 in 1995 to just 18,000 in 2010.
  • How the idea started to form….and why she sat of the idea for a couple of months.
  • Having 18 months to plan and prepare and why she really needed another year to plan and prepare
  • The challenges she had to face and overcome
  • Dealing with the negativity and criticism for her idea
  • The power of connections and why one person can make a difference
  • Doing her research in Russia and developing local partners!
  • The start, heading up to the Arctic!
  • The call of the swans and being accepted as a lead bird
  • What is it like flying in a Paramotor? 
  • What was learned about the decline of the swans and the exciting discoveries made along the way
  • The kindness of strangers and the impact Sacha was having by meeting individuals on the journey
  • Being the first women to fly over the English Channel!
  • The next challenge (Spring 2019)- planning to fly around the UK and maybe Ireland!
  • A book and film is on the way!


Social Media

Website - 

Instagram - @sacha_dench 

Twitter - @sachadench 



The Tough Girl Podcast has also been nominated for the Women’s Sport Trust #BeAGameChanger Award - which is fantastic news and really shows what an impact the podcast is having. However, I’m up against some massive organisations - Manchester City, Channel 4 and Sky Sports!!!

I would be very grateful if you could take a moment, to vote (every vote really does make a difference!)

*** Stacey Copeland is also up for individual role model of the year.***

Voting ends on the 13th May and the awards night is the 24th May.



May 1, 2018

Kiko a former teacher, now turned SUPer and adventurer, at 36, rowed 3,000 nautical miles from Gran Canaria to Barbados in 49 days! Gaining a new Guinness World Record in the process!

Solo and unsupported, she was rowing for up to 16 hours a day, sleeping in two-hour shifts. What makes this story even more incredible is that in 2009, Kiko, was diagnosed with Cushing's disease, a rare condition that made even walking up the stairs impossible.

The tumour on her pituitary gland also caused severe memory loss, psychosis, diabetes, osteoporosis, insomnia and muscle wastage.

In order to give back Kiko stated fundraising for Kings College Hospital Charity, who helped save her life. Whilst in the middle of her training to row the Atlantic, she was diagnosed with a second tumour which was successfully removed in August 2017.

In March 2018, she smashed the previous record or 56 days and in the process motivated and inspired others to challenge themselves to do the unthinkable. 

During this podcast we learn more about Kiko; her life, the decisions she’s made and the challenges she’s overcome, what she has learnt on the way and why she wants to continue to inspire and motivate others. She also give a few hints about her next challenge!

Show notes

  • Thinking about her recent achievement!
  • Wanting to move on and focus on the next thing
  • When the dream for rowing the Atlantic came about
  • Growing up as one of 4 children
  • Adventures growing up, travelling and taking gap years
  • Driving to Cape Town from the UK in a team of 4 over 6 months
  • What she learnt on this adventure…
  • Learning to speak honestly to people and to be honest to herself
  • Being diagnosed with Cushing Disease in 2009
  • Why you have to let go of the things you can’t control and focus on what you can control
  • The recovery process…over 18 months
  • Going off her medication and the negative impact…
  • Trying to find her passion
  • Learning to stand up paddle board on the Nile
  • Wanting to do paddle board life coaching in the future
  • Telling her friends and family about her Atlantic Rowing Challenge!
  • Not having the support from her family 
  • Doing the planning at the start
  • Deciding to do women only funding
  • Having to deal with her tumour coming back
  • Why it was a relief to start rowing the Atlantic
  • Being closest to a person in space rather than on earth!
  • Never feeling lonely or alone
  • What a typical day was like on the water - her routine and day to day habits
  • How she entertained herself while on the boat & getting obsessed with the data
  • The last day and the finish
  • Knowing her life was going to change after getting the world record
  • What she’s learnt from this experience
  • The next big challenge!
  • Final words of wisdom…
  • Where her name - Kiko came from

Social Media

Personal Website - 

Twitter - @Kikomatthews 

Instagram @kikomatthews 

Donate here  to help raise funds for Kings College Hospital Charity -



I'm excited to be up for an award at this year’s @womensporttrust #BeAGameChanger Awards! Please vote for me here -


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 


Mar 27, 2018

After receiving the sudden news of losing her father whilst on the other side of the world backpacking, Lindsey threw herself into adventure to deal with the grief. Having not ridden a bike since at school, she decided to cycle to Paris.

She liked it. So, she cycled the length of Britain. She liked that too and then scaled the African continent. But, she didn’t just stick to adventuring on two wheels.

She ran from her home in London to Manchester, carrying a ukulele to busk on arrival. Hearing the absurdity of her latest challenge, the local radio station got her to sing and play each night live. The only problem was that she couldn’t play or sing.

She then turned to eight wheels, and roller skated to Paris, whilst learning en route. And, having been inspired by the story she read ten years earlier, she trekked for ten weeks on her own, across the Australian outback, following the Rabbit Proof Fence, retracing the amazing journey of three young sisters.

Past Adventures

2017 - Truck Tales - circumnavigating Australia with Truck Drivers

2016 - Walking the Rabbit Proof Fence

2013 - To Bude in the Nude- 150 mile roller-skate to Bude in a nude suit, because it rhymed!

2013 - Je Parle Franglais en skates - Rollerskating to Paris whilst learning French

2013 - Running with Kenyans - Turned 30 and wanted to run a sub 3.0hr marathon. It didn't happen! 

2012 - Runkule - 250 mile run to Manchester playing the ukulele

2012 - Running to Wales - Ran from London to see a friend for a cup of tea

Show notes

  • Living in France and writing a book
  • How she would describe herself
  • Growing up in London
  • Where her love of travel came from
  • Finishing university and taking a year out…
  • One gap year turned into a 6 year adventure
  • Doing a Masters in journalism
  • Living in a boot room of a chalet at 35! 
  • Any pressure to settle down? Not knowing what she wants to do!
  • Dealing with rejection and how she got into adventure
  • Learning about the death of her father and dealing with it at 24 years old
  • Signing up to the London to Paris Cycle ride and why it helped her with her grief
  • A break down of her different challenges
  • Being average but still managing to surprise herself
  • The thing she finds the hardest! 
  • Researching the Rabbit Proof Fence and getting permission from the daughters of Daisy
  • Doing survival training in preparation for the trip
  • The number one tip in survival - DON’T PANIC
  • Trevor the Trolly (named after her dad)
  • Dealing with the wildlife in Australia.. snakes…spiders…
  • Wanting to do the challenge on her own
  • Not wanting the challenge to end
  • Learning more about Molly 
  • Hitching a ride around Australia with Truck Drivers
  • Normality and not fitting in
  • Plans for 2018?!
  • The Book/Boyfriend
  • Learning how to roller-skate!
  • Not announcing her next challenge until she knows it’s going to happen
  • Final words of advice

Social Media

Website & Blog -

Twitter - @LindseyCole  

Instagram - @Stompycole 


Mar 20, 2018

Cal is a stand up paddle boarder, surfer, ocean lover and vet. Increasingly upset by the amount of plastic waste she was finding in the ocean, she wanted to connect people to the harm that it was causing, but moreover to empower people to make positive changes to help prevent it.

So she turned to adventure in 2016 she stand up paddle boarded the entire Cornish coast in a bid to demonstrate the problems surrounding single use plastic water bottles; a 260 mile epic ocean voyage. In 2017 she circumnavigated the Isle of Skye’s 400 miles of coastline on a paddle board! Cal also shares with us, what she has got planned in 2018! It's EPIC!!! 

Show notes

  • Living by the sea and why it is everything to Cal
  • Being a surfer and a paddle boarder
  • Paddle against Plastic
  • Working as a vet part time
  • Spending time in Australia and where she learnt to surf
  • Falling in love with the sea
  • Why surfing is so frustrating & why you have to persevere 
  • Being a budding surfer and why it’s doesn't matter if you’re good or not
  • Why she loves fell running over road running
  • Why she started stand up paddle boarding
  • Plastic pollution and how it impacted her personally
  • What she decided to do about it!
  • Dealing with the forces of nature and the challenges from the sea
  • The mental challenge and doing her first ever expedition
  • Deciding to paddle around the Isle of Skye in Scotland
  • Spending time alone on the water, but being alone
  • Dealing with a challenging situation while on expedition
  • Eating flapjacks in an emergency situation
  • The impact plastic has on the animals
  • Why the problems are not unique to Skye
  • Preparing for the trip, managing supplies such as food and water
  • What she learns from going on these expeditions
  • Adventuring with a purpose
  • What individuals can do to change their own personal behaviour in the battle against plastic
  • The ways to tackle plastic pollution
  • Why you should switch it out
  • The challenge in 2018!

Twitter @major_cal 

Paddle Against Plastic 

Paddle Against Plastic was set up by Cal Major in 2016 as a way to reach people and talk about the issue of plastic pollution.

Paddle Against Plastic uses epic stand up paddle boarding adventures to capture peoples’ imagination, highlight the issue of plastic pollution so close to home, and to promote positive change by proposing simple solutions that we can all be proud and excited to be a part of.

Cal was unable to stand the amount of plastic washing up on her favourite surfing beaches any more without doing something about it, and so Paddle Against Plastic: Cornwall 2016 was born as a way to reach out to people.

Mar 13, 2018

Katie-Jane L’Herpiniere has a passion for adventure, challenging her limits both physically and mentally, and exploring this wonderful world in which we live. 

After university Katie had the opportunity to build a career as a commercial model, on fashion shows for household names such as Marks and Spencer’s, Tony & Guy and Alexander McQueen, photo shoots and a number of Film and TV projects including having body-doubled for Cameron Diaz. 

Then in 2005, Katie met polar explorer Tarka L'Herpiniere,  and they were quick to find they had little in common. Tarka was less than impressed with her manicured nails and face full of makeup, likewise, Katie did not see Tarka as the ‘all-action hero’ that his accolades suggest, more a really ‘odd’ Frenchman who seemed to find enjoyment in throwing himself into frozen lakes! It wasn’t long before the facades were broken and by 2006 Katie had left behind her life as a model and made the gigantic leap from exhibitionist to expeditionist.

In 2007, after 167 days and 4500km Katie & Tarka, in an incredible feat of determination, became the first recognised people to walk unsupported the entire length of the Great Wall of China, from its western most terminus to its eastern most. 

From the completion of this challenge, Katie realised that any feeling of accomplishment, achievement or success is directly proportional to the effort, commitment and hardship put into achieving it. 

Having discovered this newfound inner strength, she has since gone on to fill her life with many more adventures. Including; the longest crossing of the Southern Patagonian Ice Cap by a woman, cycling across Africa on a vintage African bicycle with no brakes or gears unsupported, raced in the Transcontinental unsupported single stage 4000km bike race across Europe, lived in a floating tent in -50C on the Arctic Ocean, and has nearly lost her life on many numbers of occasions.

Show notes

  • Living in France in a ski resort 
  • Growing up in Devon, spending time outside and riding horses
  • Being lazy by nature
  • Meeting a polar explorer…. Tarka
  • Being invited to walk to the North Pole!
  • Deciding to walk the Great Wall of China!
  • How her confidence evolved
  • Being open to new challenges
  • The conditions over in China
  • Dealing with the 40 degree heat and having to be rescued
  • Not being cut out for the expedition life
  • Dealing with compression of the spine and shrinking by an inch
  • Dealing with the biggest snow storm China had ever seen!
  • Why she kept going, even though she cried every day of the journey
  • What was it like finishing her first massive challenge
  • 2 showers in 6 months….
  • Reflecting back on the journey which was completed over 10 years ago
  • Their relationship while on expedition
  • Starting to plan the next adventure, almost straight away!
  • Being disheartened by adventure, and struggling to make a living from being an adventurer
  • No adventure for 5 years…
  • Discussing money…
  • Living at home with parents to cover the day to day living costs
  • Playing favourites with challenges
  • Why she is happy to say no 
  • Heading over to the Patagonia Ice Cap even having a fear of snow & ice…
  • Stopping breathing & dying on the ice
  • Waiting for a weather window to make a crossing, while living on half rations
  • Making a plan to get off the icecap
  • Mental tips and tricks to keep calm and to be resilient
  • Working with a sports psychologist 
  • Type 2 fun and not enjoying the experiences while she does them
  • Making the transition to solo adventure
  • Signing up for the Transcontinental Bike Race in Europe
  • What a typical day was like while on the road - riding, eating & tears!
  • When it all went wrong…
  • Recovering from challenges
  • Plans for 2018….The Silk Road Mountain Race (August 18th 2018)
  • Advice for women and girls who want to lead a more adventurous life


Social Media


Instagram: @katielherpiniere 

Facebook: @katiesenduranceadventures  

Mar 8, 2018

Jane was born in Edinburgh and brought up in North Yorkshire. After reading English at Somerville College, Oxford, she became an antiquarian book dealer, and later a writer. Her ten books to date have been critically acclaimed, and have confirmed her as one of our most engaging and original social historians.

Jane lives near Oxford with her husband and - during university holidays - her two sons. She writes full time, apart from when she's happily travelling to give talks or broadcasts about her books, or working one day a week at Somerville College as an assistant archivist.

Her most recent book came out in January 2018 - Hearts And Minds: The Untold Story of the Great Pilgrimage and How Women Won the Vote. This is a story of ordinary people effecting extraordinary change. By turns dangerous, exhausting and exhilarating, the Great Pilgrimage transformed the personal and political lives of women in Britain for ever. Jane Robinson has drawn from diaries, letters and unpublished accounts to tell the inside story of the march, against the colourful background of the entire suffrage campaign.

Show notes

  • Growing up in Yorkshire
  • Her passion and love for books
  • Getting interested in women travellers and women adventurers
  • Meeting a collector from America and how her life changed
  • Creating the first bibliography of women travellers
  • “Wayward Women" - First hand travel accounts written by women
  • Finding women, whose voices need to be heard
  • Being inspired by these incredible women’s spirit
  • Doing the research, one year to research and one year to write 
  • Common themes of her work - looking at social history through women’s lives
  • Women who headed out to the unknown, who wanted to see what was over the horizon 
  • Being naive… 
  • Dr Susie Rijnhart- a missionary based in China - travelling to Tibet
  • Getting personally involved in the stories being researched 
  • What she’s learnt from doing this research and writing the stories 
  • 2018 and writing the story of women and getting the vote
  • Not being able to identify with the suffragettes 
  • 1913 - The Great Pilgrimage
  • What is the definition of a suffragette?
  • The Marches and the narrative behind it
  • What was being shared in the women’s diaries 
  • Dealing with the real fear of violence from being on the pilgrimage 
  • Which women got the vote
  • Reading newspaper accounts when women got the vote
  • Her next book!


Visit her blog and website -

Mar 6, 2018

Hélène  has just come back to the UK after 18 months adventuring in her VW camper-van travelling with her bikes, and finding the best places to triathlon train in Europe!

In 2016 Hélène represented Great Britain at Age Group level for the European ironman and half ironman championships in Poland and Austria, in 2017, it was Ironman Austria, where she qualified for the Ironman World Championships in Kona, Hawaii!

Show notes

  • Deciding to go on an adventure
  • Heading to Europe to do triathlon
  • Her introduction into road cycling and swimming
  • Her first triathlon in 2004
  • How her love for triathlon evolved
  • Getting to explore the countryside
  • Joining a running club to make it more social
  • Where are all the women?
  • Why you don’t have to be amazing at it all
  • Working and training and trying to get the balance in your life
  • Deciding to do an Ironman…. with 3 months to train for it
  • Dealing with anxiety and fear before a race and why self confidence is so important
  • Being on the start line for Ironman Wales
  • Learning to not worry about the things you can’t control
  • When the gun goes off & the mass entry of 2,000 people into the water!
  • The hills on the bike and why you need to pace yourself
  • Being Celiac and how it impacts on her nutrition and training
  • #VanLife
  • Buying her van in a car auction… (Victor the van!)
  • Planning and organised and why you don’t need to play your life to have an amazing time!
  • Being a female solo traveller
  • Leaving just before Brexit! July 2016
  • Expectations verses reality
  • Getting through the tough days
  • Racing triathlon in Poland
  • Qualifying for the Ironman World Championships in Kona!
  • 3 months…. training… and why it wasn’t all plain sailing…
  • Learning to control her emotions
  • Why the only person who is putting pressure on you is you
  • The training plan
  • Heading over to Hawaii! Feeling serene on the day
  • The aggressive start in the swim
  • Transition… and dealing with the wind
  • The mental side of triathlon
  • Plans for 2018
  • Advice for women and girls and why it wasn’t an easy decision to make
  • Being Selfish and why you should go for it!

Social Media

Twitter - @WhereWheelsGo  

Instagram - @WhereWheelsGo  

Blog  -

Feb 27, 2018

Hope Virgo suffered with anorexia for over 4 years, before being admitted to a Mental Health Hospital in 2007. She lived in the hospital for a year, fighting one of the hardest battles of her life. Since being discharged, she has fought to stay well. 

Hope has now written about her journey with anorexia, in her book, Stand Tall Little Girl. Hope uses her experiences of mental health illness to champion the rights of others, inspire them to get well, and help break the stigma of mental illness.

Hope lives and works in London. In her spare time, she volunteers for refugee charities, and charities that support young and abandoned children. She is a dedicated runner, and has a keen interest in maintaining good mental health through healthy eating and exercise.

Show notes

  • Growing up in Bristol
  • Starting to run
  • Developing anorexic  
  • Having something else to think about
  • Being admitted to a mental health hospital at 17
  • Learning to talk about her feeling
  • Deciding to write about her story
  • Learning to open up and being in a place to share her story.
  • Taking with her mum while out running
  • Her relationship with her mum, why it’s had its ups and downs
  • Travelling around South East Asia with her boyfriend
  • Why she had to manage her anorexic every day
  • Her ‘friend’ - the voice of anorexia
  • How her running developed from the cross country team at school, to running half marathons
  • Doing her first marathon and over training
  • 3.26 marathon…
  • Making sure she has rest days
  • Trying to not get obsessed with weight training
  • The Brighton Marathon
  • What she thinks about while running
  • Negative thoughts in her head while running
  • Where her drive comes from
  • Working with schools talking about mental health
  • Talking about body image and mental health
  • What a typical week looks like
  • Life after a marathon
  • Cycling across Taiwan & staying with local people
  • What she learnt from the experience
  • Being an ambassador for Sure Mind Foundation 
  • Her book  - Stand Tall Little Girl 

Twitter @HopeVirgo

Facebook @HopeVirgo



Feb 20, 2018

Show notes

  • Loving sports & science
  • Coming from a sporty and academic family
  • Playing lacrosse at school and University
  • Deciding to take up high altitude mountaineering
  • Climbing mountains in South America - Heading to Bolivia to climb 6,000 m peaks
  • The struggles she faced at the start - dealing with the cold the wind and the altitude
  • How she moved forward with mountaineering
  • How she developed her skills with no money
  • Climbing a non technical mountain and learning through experience
  • The impact of altitude on her body
  • The next mountain and heading to Alaska!
  • Climbing Denali….with no guide
  • Being stuck inside the tent for 12 days…
  • The preparation that’s done in advance
  • Summit night on Denali
  • Fitting in climbing around her PhD
  • Funding her expeditions to the Andes
  • Collecting data and using the super computer!
  • Identifying all of the mountains over 5,000 m in the Andes
  • Finding Inca ruins on the summit of mountains
  • Getting to name the mountains…
  • 106 mountains over 6,000 metres….
  • Route planning in modern times
  • Adjusting back to life after spending time out in the mountains
  • TV opportunity and being approached by the BBC… Do you want to be an Astronaut?!
  • The tests!
  • Developing resilience
  • Being taken outside her comfort zone
  • Staying calm under pressure
  • Wanting to go into space & astronaut selection..
  • Being back in the academic world
  • Inspiring the younger generation with outreach programs
  • Dreaming about the mountains….
  • Having balance in her life… getting up at 5am, running, getting to work at 7 am, work…
  • Why routine is so important 
  • Learning languages… and why you have to challenge yourself and do things that you aren’t good at
  • Persistence, working hard and developing skills

Twitter - @SuzieImberSpace 

Feb 15, 2018

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; the UK’s fastest growing women’s adventure community.

Show notes

  • Social Media Experiment…. riding across Europe…
  • Thinking about journeys 
  • Being a planner & getting uncomfortable
  • Climbing over her back fence…. left, right, straight on??
  • What’s going to happen next?
  • Making a change from walking to cycling
  • Having an element of control
  • Wanting to see the monkeys
  • Focusing on the new opportunities & not dwelling on missed opportunities
  • Accommodation while on the road
  • Warm showers - 
  • The kindness of strangers and the people she met on the way
  • Getting home.. train..plane?
  • Going to Gloucester
  • The love story…. following your passion
  • Trying to be the sunshine in people’s lives
  • The next adventure idea!
  • Missing her brothers wedding 
  • Making it work with Jamie
  • Deciding on the route?
  • Testing out Kick Scooters
  • Loving the mountains and cycling up hills
  • Starting at La Paz & being hit with altitude straight away
  • Cycling Death Road, as a bikepacker
  • Navigation with MapOut
  • Accommodation while on the road… Wild camping!
  • The challenges on the journey…
  • Facing your fears and getting naked!
  • The wild dogs…. & being bitten by a dog..
  • Travelling with Faye and what she learnt from the experience
  • Being ready to finish the adventure & how they celebrated the end!
  • Dealing with the post adventure blues…
  • Heading over to Canada on a book tour with Jamie….. Plannada….
  • Book writing… the Prequel… (Cycling the 50 states America)
  • Being an Ambassador for the Girl Guides
  • The Adventures Queens….
  • The next challenge… A running adventure in 2019
  • Final words of advice and wisdom
  • Live your life, like no one else is watching!

Connect with Anna - Support & follow!

Website - 

Twitter - @AnnaMcNuff 

Instagram - @Annamcnuff 

Facebook - 


Feb 13, 2018

Faye found her adventure mojo in 2014, since then she’s taken on a new challenge each year;  from climbing Kilimanjaro, to cycling the length of New Zealand solo and most recently coming back from spending 6 months cycling the Andes.

Show notes

  • Living in Cornwall
  • Being shy & feeling homesick
  • Going to university and taking a gap year 
  • Learning to live off very little money
  • Spending time in Thailand
  • Being called an Adventurer & why she 
  • What she got up to after university
  • Deciding to climb Kilimanjaro & getting the adventure bug
  • Summit night on Kilimanjaro..
  • Making changes in her life
  • Micro Adventures and meeting new people
  • Joining the search and rescue team in Cornwall
  • Deciding to cycle the length of New Zealand
  • The fears, and making the decision to do it - 
  • Being a planner…
  • Getting to meet Anna McNuff
  • Starting her cycle ride in the South of NewZealand in 2015
  • Crying on the bike and having doubts
  • Wanting to quit
  • What she learned from her New Zealand experience
  • Your vibe attracts your tribe
  • Deciding to go on her next Adventure to South America
  • Fitness….
  • Flying into La Paz and dealing with Altitude
  • Being in South America - dealing with standing out, learning Spanish and the physical demands on the body
  • Being stung by a scorpion!
  • The end of the challenge!
  • Adventure Blues and coming to terms with them
  • If your going through hell, keep going 
  • Why its normal to have hard times
  • Changing her career aspirations
  • Future dreams and goals
  • Why you should do something that scares you!
  • Commit to it and be bold

Twitter - @Faye_Shepherd 

Instagram - @faye_shepherd 


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