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020: Sarah Williams on Tough Girl Challenges and the Marathon des Sables

I’ve always been amazed at those who push their limits and break through barriers of fear. I can imagine that’s what our next podcast guest, Sarah Williams, had to do in order to complete the Marathon des Sables, a multi-day, ultramarathon event that takes place in the Sahara Desert. 

I’ve completed the New York City and Philadelphia marathons (26.2 mile races), as well as local triathlon events (swim/bike/run combos) so know the hard work and training that goes on behind the scenes. But the Marathon des Sables is a whole other beast altogether. Six marathons in six days, all self-supported with backpacks with 1,200 other competitors in a hot, vast desert. I love how Sarah was able to challenge herself enough to get out of her comfort zone and really step it up to compete and come in ninth place for British women. 

But was she always as tough as the course she had to face? Listen to her story as she, like many, came at a crossroads with what to do with her life and job, and how sitting on buses in South America gave her the idea for tough girl challenges as an outlet for personal growth and transformation, including competing in the “toughest footrace on earth.”

Who is Sarah?

After working in finance for eight years, Sarah quit her city job and spent 18 months traveling the world, climbing Kilimanjaro, backpacking around South America and doing a ski season. She used this time to help her decide on what she wanted to do with her life.

She set up Tough Girl Challenges as a way of motivating and inspiring women and girls. She’s also the host the Tough Girl Podcast where she interviews inspirational female explorers, adventurers, athletes and everyday women who have overcome great challenges.
 
She completed the Marathon des Sables in April 2016. This year, she will hike the Appalachian Trail (2,190 miles) in 100 days! 

Quotes from Sarah

I’ve realized recently that I wake up everyday and I’m just so happy because I just love my life, I’m doing exactly what I want to do. (5:35)

What amazes me is when I look back on my vision board it’s like, ‘Oh, my gosh, I can’t believe I did that!’ (9:12)

When I was working at my job, I actually spent more time planning my holidays than planning my life and I find it’s very easy to slip into routines and not plan what you really want to do and the days go by, the weeks go by, the months go by and suddenly you look up and ‘wow hold on how did I even get here?’ If you don’t think about it, if you don’t plan it, if you’re not developing your future and not making it the way you want to see it, you’re going to be living somebody else’s future. (10:10)

What You’ll Learn

  • How visualization exercises was key to creating her version of a well-designed life
  • How she created Tough Girl Challenges via a business plan and 200-page manifesto of what she wants to achieve
  • Why she chose the Marathon des Sables as her big challenge
  • How taking action, despite not having all the answers or information, is her default choice nowadays—certainly keeps one from getting stuck in analysis paralysis!

Resources and How to Connect:
Sarah’s website: www.toughgirlchallenges.com
Social Media: FacebookPinterest and Twitter

Other Listening Options:
Individual player or full player view on website: http://lorirochino.com/podcast-2/

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