Mud, Sweat and Tears by Moire O’Sullivan

After a recommendation from a good friend I recently read the book ‘Mud, Sweat and Tears’ by Moire O’Sullivan.

Without giving too much of the plot away, this is the story of how Moire came to, and ultimately fell in love with mountain running, leading her to made a solo attempt on the Wicklow Round. This is a gruelling endurance run spanning a hundred kilometres over twenty six of Ireland’s remotest mountain peaks. After twenty one and a half hours she collapsed, two summits from the end. Battered and bruised, yet undeterred, she returned a year later to become the first person ever to try again.

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Without a doubt my favourite bit of the book is early on in the story when Moire describes her first fell race and how she tried to dress accordingly for the event to look like she was a ‘regular’. This had me grinning as I totally did the same thing!

I have no hesitation in saying if you love fell running or have a passion for the outdoors this book is for you. I was really gripped by her story and finished the book in about a day! Something that really stood out for me is how humble and honest Moire is about her feelings and emotions, there are so many points in the book I felt myself relating to how she was feeling. Despite not being a training book or guide in anyway or form I’ve certainly noticed some of her observations and pointers pop into my head when I’ve running since. Well worth a read!

Book available from Amazon

Visit Moire’s website

Skiing lesson with Charlotte Evans MBE – Paralympic Gold Medallist

Kit Shack recently ran a competition to win a skiing lesson with Charlotte Evans, British skier and sight guide Paralympian.  We talked to Charlotte and competition winner Jade Shields after their day together.

Charlotte Evans won the English Champion title in 2009 before becoming a sight guide in 2010. Charlotte and her partner Kelly Gallagher won Britain’s first ever Winter Games Gold medal in Skiing. In 2014 Charlotte was awarded an MBE for her services to Paralympic Sport.

Jade Shields (29) is from Surrey and works in the Super Yachting industry as a stewardess. Jade has just finished a ski season in Val D’Isere. It was her second snow season having done one in Andorra in 2012.

Jade says “I started skiing in Andorra but didn’t ski at all between the end of the first season and start of the second! I’m comfortable on blue runs and some reds but sometimes challenge myself on black runs. I would class myself as still beginner/intermediate level.”

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Like Jade, lots of people are serious about their skiing but have limited free time to train. Charlotte’s advice is “try and make sure you stay fit and any evening you get free, go to your local dry slope as skiing on there is better than nothing.”

After the lesson Jade said “The aspect of my skiing that I felt most improved was my stance. I was able to gain confidence in leaning forward and body positioning. This improved my speed, balance and also helped with my confidence. The most enjoyable part was the final runs where Charlotte and I were synchronised slalom skiing.”

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We asked Charlotte about the dynamics of skiing as a pair. “Skiing as a pair is still individual but there are two of us in one team. Trust is vital and takes time to get, but once you have the trust it is easier to push the speeds and limits.”

Charlotte believes the characteristics that have led to her success are that she is very patient, competitive and a good listener. “My next goal is undecided yet. However everything I have done so far has been incredible and a lot of fun so would like to keep fun and being happy as a priority.”

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We asked Jade what advice she would give to others considering taking up skiing as adults. “Skiing is a fantastic sport allowing you to explore some amazing scenery in various resorts around the world. Have lessons, stick with the sport even when you feel you’re not improving. Skiing is a challenging sport but maybe the next pro hasn’t even started to learn yet!”

Kit Shack is a specialist retailer of Buff products.

Shanaze Reade sets a new Guinness World Record

For those of you who have not heard of Shanaze Reade check her out – this girl is awesome! Starting aged 10 on the BMX track, by the time she was 17 Shanaze was Britain’s number one women’s rider, having competed in the elite men’s category throughout the British series to improve her skills. Soon world titles followed alongside track cycling to keep fit for BMX racing.

As it turned out Shanaze was pretty damn good at this too and found that her power and strength worked well in the velodrome. In 2007 she was chosen to be the lead-out rider in the women’s team sprint with Victoria Pendleton which lead to the pair winning world titles in 2007 and 2008.

I could easily go on to list a whole host of further achievement Shanaze has achieved but I wanted to point you in the direction of her latest feat – setting a new Guinness World Record! A few weeks ago Shanaze became the fastest person ever to cycle around a ‘Wall of Death’ on a pedal powered bike.

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A ‘Wall of Death’ is a silo or barrel shaped wooden cylinder, typically ranging from 20 to 36 feet in diameter and made of wooden planks, inside which motorcyclists, (or a cyclist in this case!) travels along the vertical wall and perform stunts, held in place by friction and centrifugal force.

For more on this badass woman check out the full article by Road.cc. or follow Shanaze on Twitter.

Image main credit to Bristol BMX Club.

 

Mother and Daughter Kayaking Adventure

The winners of this year’s Sean Conway Adventure Scholarship are mother and daughter Addi and Athina (age 8). Together they will be kayaking down the Leeds-Liverpool canals, a distance of 127 miles (204km), which they expect to take 6 days.

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The kayaking trip is part of a year of adventures that will also include a half marathon, an iron man, and a Mini Olympics for schools. They have even arranged an international Mini Olympics at a school while they are on holiday in Madrid! For their kayak-swim challenges, Athina will sit inside the kayak and give support along the way.

Team AA hope to create a world where more children can be introduced to the benefit of sport, as well as raising funds for the Jane Tomlinson appeal.

They are fantastic role models and are sure to inspire young people with their active lifestyle. We can’t wait to see more of their adventures! Follow them on their Team AA website and blog, and on twitter @Ourgreatproject.

 

 

 

 

Sarah Outen – cycling, rowing and kayaking around the world!

Back in April 2011 Sarah Outen set out from Tower Bridge on her London2London: Via the World expedition. Her goal was to row, bike and kayak around the northern hemisphere, inspiring children and fundraising for charities.

Reading about her journey is so inspiring, in everything I have read about Sarah, she comes across as totally down to earth and really relateable which is so cool to see. I have no doubt she has inspired a lot of individuals young and old to take on their own challenges.

One of the best things – Sarah believes anyone could do it too according to her interview with Cooler before she finished! I loved her comment:

“You get to meet wildlife on its own terms. You’re not a big scary noisy vehicle that’s going to run it over. You’re right up close and personal in it. You’re not intimidating on a bicycle. You’re just a bit tired and smelly. People really connect with that,  it’s really powerful.”

Sarah completed her journey on the 3rd November 2015 arriving back in London, England after 1676 days, 23 hours, 25 minutes and 0 seconds – that’s 4.5 years covering over 25000 miles! Her book ‘Dare to Do’ about her expedition will be out in May 2016.

You can read the full interview with Cooler here.

Visit Sarah Outen’s website click here.

Staying active during pregnancy: Beth Rodden Climbing Pregnant study

Pregnancy and childbirth is a natural process, and many active women want to stay active as mums-to-be and new mothers.

How long to carry on climbing or running, how to adapt, and how to get active again after childbirth are personal choices, but when professional climber Beth Rodden became pregnant she felt there wasn’t enough information to support her to make those choices.

So Beth worked with two doctors to create a medical survey on climbing pregnant and post partum experiences to create the information she wished she had (the study also includes comparison notes from female runners).

I love Beth’s approach to enabling and supporting other women, you can read more about her experiences and the Climbing Pregnant study in her blog…

Climbing Pregnant: Medical Study Results

‘Our own mind is our biggest obstacle to living and achieving our wildest aspirations’ Karen Darke

When I’m not outside climbing, biking or running most of my time is taken up by either preparing for adventures or searching for inspiration. I can not tell you how many blog posts and videos have helped my push myself or discover that little bit more I didn’t know I could give. So today I wanted to share a little piece on my most recent source of inspiration.

I’m not quite sure how I came across Karen Darke’s blog (I think it was Twitter) – but this women is amazing!  A climber, adventure and paralympian, Karen is currently a full-time athlete with the British Para-Cycling Team, training for the 2016 Paralympics.

When she’s not training she has fitted in some pretty awesome adventures such as sit-skiing across Greenland, climbing El Capitan and handbiking from Tibet to Nepal to name but a few!

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Then as if she was not busy enough training Karen is also the Founder of Inspire & Impact, and works as a speaker, coach and facilitator! She uses her powerful personal experiences to create positive impact in the lives, health and work of others.

“Someone once said to me, ‘Disability is a state of mind not a state of body.’ That’s a notion that relates to us all, regardless of whether we have a physical disability or not. Our own mind is our biggest obstacle to living and achieving our wildest aspirations. What is life if it isn’t an adventure? I’m constantly amazed by what can be achieved if we set our heart and mind to it. It’s all about finding belief, confidence, motivation and commitment. And of course, friends. Then there are no limits.”

Karen Darke

So if you are looking for some mid week inspiration check out Karen’s website, it’s definitely worth a read, I can’t stress enough how awesome this women is!

Fernanda Maciel runs up and down the highest peak in America in under 24 hours!

Yesterday I came across this awesome article on Redbull written by Ben Johnson about Fernanda Maciel the first woman to run up and down the highest peak in America in under 24 hours.

At 6,691m high, Aconcagua is incredibly steep covered in snow and ice, as well as that, at that hight Fernanda was also having to battle far thinner air and altitude sickness – no easy task! What makes this story amazing for me is Maciel’s determination and perseverance – her first two attempts failed (read more about that here) but she kept going and set record on what was her third attempt.

For the full story and more pictures click here!

Strong is the New Pretty, Kate T Parker Photography

Kate T Parker has produced a powerful set of photos of her daughters, titled ‘Strong is the New Pretty.’

“I wanted this series of images to show their boldness, their strength, and the beauty in them, as they are…”

Strong is the new pretty, the book, will be published by Workman Publishing spring 2017. Meanwhile you can see more photos from the series at Kate’s blog, and follow her on Twitter @ktparkerphoto.