Community Spotlight - Edition #01

Shining a light on you – our incredible community members. We’re sharing your amazing stories, training tips, hacks and more. These inspire us all to keep showing up on the track, road, bike, or in the water.

Shining a light on you – our incredible community members. We’re sharing your amazing stories, training tips, hacks and more. These inspire us all to keep showing up on the track, road, bike, or in the water.

This month we're talking to Jennifer Chambers - a running enthusiast from Melbourne, now living in London. She discovered running when she moved to Europe and has used it as a way to discover more of the UK and Europe - and herself - ever since.

A bit about you:

What’s your story? How did you start running?

My background is swimming and rowing, and I used to do Pilates a lot when I lived in Melbourne. However, when I moved to London, I got into running as it was an accessible way to see the city (and far more affordable than Pilates!) so I've been running for about eight years now. I started out going to the free community events that Nike ran, and eventually started going to all their different events across Europe. It gave me the bug for using running as a vehicle to travel and see different parts of the world. I now always try to plan trips around the runs I do.

What’s your favourite thing about running?

Running is a great way to explore places and get to know the cities more, whether that's where you live or new places you visit – especially at different times of the day to everyone else. It's a great opportunity to find a moment of zen in a hectic city. For example, having Hampstead Heath to yourself at 6 a.m. on a Monday vs. going for a run with everyone at 9am on a Saturday.

A lot of running for me is really about learning about my personality and respecting my body. It helps with being less impatient and learning to have the quiet confidence to trust the process or the plan my coach made for me. It's okay to fail or have setbacks; you've just got to keep trying, pick yourself back up and take the next step. You don't have to be a perfectionist.

What’s your favourite running route? (We’re always looking for new recommendations!)

There's a great loop around the Serpentine from Covent Garden. It's about five miles: head down to Trafalgar Square and run down Pall Mall to Buckingham Palace, up through Green Park to Hyde Park corner and towards Serpentine and then loop back. Great to do in your lunch break or with your team.

Other favourite routes:
Camden to Hampstead Heath and back – that's about 10km.

From Camden, along the canal to Victoria Park is great.

What’s your best piece of advice for anyone starting out?

Listen to the your body, don't go too fast too quickly and never run through an injury!

Best running/cycling hack?

Buy a running belt! (I've broken 2 iPhones by putting them in my sports bra from sweat damage! True story!)

What’s in your running belt / backpack?

iPhone and keys. For longer runs I use a Camelbag backpack to carry water and snacks.

Any pre or post-training rituals?

Post-run foam rolling, if I'm being very good ;)

You and events:

What event(s) are you most looking forward to doing next?

I've just signed up for the TTP Cambridge Half Marathon - I've never been to Cambridge so I'm really excited to use this race as an excuse to see the city - I've heard great things!

If money and distance were no object, what event would you love to take part in?

In the UK, I would really love to do Race to the Stones - it's a 100km ultra marathon paved in English history from Roman river crossings to Bronze Age forts. It's 100km so something that I'd need to work up day!

Further afield, I saw this documentary about a Belgian dentist called Karel Sabbe who did the Via Alpina. It's a 2,650km trail through the Alps from Muggia in Italy to Monaco, which looks amazing. I'd also like to do the GR20 in Corsica; it's 112 miles of hiking and/or running. I attempted it a few years ago but sadly got injured. I'd like another attempt at completing it.

Best event you’ve done?

I did Vitality London 10,000 when I'd just moved to London. It was a great way to see all the sites, with the route running right through the city centre.

I also loved the Madeira Sky Race (not-so-surprisingly, in Madeira). It was a real mental and physical battle, but the energy from my fellow race participants and at the fuel stations was so incredible, it helped motivate me to the finish line. It ended up being as much an out-of-body experience, as much as it was a physical one.

Quick-fire round:

Best running song?

I love some SoundCloud mixes, especially 'Decade Mix' by Flight Facilities. One song that I love right now would be 'I Want Your Soul' by Armand Van Helden. Also, my coach recommended 'Running Up That Hill' by Kate Bush (the Stranger Things remix, obvs).

Favourite pre or post-run snack?

I only run on coffee.

Morning or evening run?

Ideally, I chase the sunset runs; but usually, morning runs wake me up for work.

Trainer of choice?

I'm very brand loyal to Asics

Best running product or accessory?

Obvs the Ciele hat

Music, podcasts, or nothing at all?

Music for short runs and podcasts for the long ones. Podcasts-wise, I'm constantly lolling to The Imperfects, or getting confused by Huberman [Lab], or fawning over Rich Roll. I'm not quite at the 'nothing at all' stage of running yet.

Favourite supporting exercise for running?

The [boring] rehab exercises my physio gave me, side planks and death-by-glute exercises.

Favourite running app?

Strava. My average daily time on it is shockingly high.

Describe your ideal rest day in emojis… 3,2,1, go!


In one word, what motivates you?


Pacing London Marathon|||Pacing band

Pacing London: what it's like to pace London Marathon

You don’t need to be a fast runner to work at Let’s Do This, but that doesn’t stop Let’s Do This data scientist, Simon Wright, from running sub 3 hour marathons in his spare time.

You don’t need to be a fast runner to work at Let’s Do This, but that doesn’t stop Let’s Do This data scientist, Simon Wright, from running sub 3 hour marathons in his spare time.

A 2:53:20 marathoner, triathlete and enthusiastic orienteer-er, Simon added yet another string to his bow this month when he paced the 2022 London Marathon.

Read on to hear from Simon himself about his experience as a London Marathon pacer – and how you could get involved too!

Becoming a London Marathon pacer

I like running. But I love maths*. So maybe it’s unsurprising that I found myself drawn to the prospect of pacing for races. 

I first got involved in pacing very informally last year, pacing a couple of my colleagues to 10k PBs. After that, I decided to give it a go officially this year at the London Landmarks Half Marathon, managing to soak up the atmosphere while leading around a hardy band of 20 runners to a 1:45 finish. And what better place to look to replicate that feeling than at the London Marathon?

In June, I found out that I’d been selected to pace the race at 3:15, the top end of my three suggested times, which would be a challenge!

So, what is pacing?

The premise is very simple: it’s very common for runners to get very excited on the day of a big race and fly off the line.

Wouldn’t it be great not to have to worry about a burst of adrenaline threatening your race from the off? That’s where pacers come in, to run a consistent pace for the whole race to give you one less thing to worry about.

Preparing to pace

In the run-up to the race, I tuned up with some practice pacing at Wimbledon Common parkrun (mostly successfully!) and then again at The Big Half, getting some experience pacing in a crowded atmosphere.

The most important thing is to make sure you hit the splits. Not going faster than the splits, not “banking time” in case things go wrong, but running at almost exactly the target split the whole time. I did a lot of 6-8 mile runs at this target pace to try and lock in that feeling, so it would be natural on race day.

Race day

Race morning was a 5:30am start. Despite the fact that I had to be at the start earlier than most, there were still plenty of other nervous-looking runners eating breakfast on the train to Blackheath. I went for two bagels with peanut butter and a banana, which is nothing new for me on race day, just slightly more than normal!

By 8am all 76 pacers were congregated in a function room in a hotel to talk through the final bits of logistics. We’d been told to be quiet on the way there as people in the hotel might be asleep, but I think the steel drummer at the front door had already taken care of that! All that was left to do was pick up our flags and our lifelines: the pacing bands (a piece of paper with the split time at every mile) and a 5k board to wear round our wrist to check our progress. Even my maths gets a bit suspect when tired at mile 24!

Pacing band

It wasn’t until I walked to the start that I appreciated the vastness of the event. Over 40,000 people from all over the world at the start line, all nervously waiting to take on the same 26.2 mile challenge, hoping that the forecast wind and rain wouldn’t materialise. After a paradoxically short wait that felt like forever in the pen finding a small crew who were in for 3:15, we were off. 

Ready, set, pace!

Strangely, the first couple of miles are a couple of the hardest when pacing – it’s very easy to get swept along with the adrenaline of the masses!

This is particularly true in London as there’s a decent downhill section in the first three miles, so you can get well ahead of schedule. There were no issues this time, getting into the habit of checking the watch at the mile board – 11 seconds ahead at 4 miles, perfect.

The first half of the race was spent chatting to the runners who were following us, most of them raising money for various charities, ticking off the miles and soaking in the atmosphere around Greenwich, Rotherhithe, and the crowd on Tower Bridge. 

After we came through half-way 35 seconds up–just as planned–we saw the elite men come the other direction. You can’t help but feel a surge of energy from how quickly they’re still going, 22 miles in! 

Sadly over the next 8 miles, most of our original pace group dropped off one by one, still running fantastic times but not quite able to hold the pace. It’s one of the hardest things about pacing, you have to keep going exactly on schedule, and can’t adjust to help people who you’ve been running with for the past 2 hours.

The last 5 miles of the London Marathon are spectacular. I was lucky enough to run the Boston Marathon earlier this year, and the crowds at London may have been even bigger and louder than there. It seemed there was constant noise from Tower Hill, down the Embankment and carrying everyone the whole way to the finish line. 

Personally it was quite nice to have worked hard but not feel on the absolute limit in the last few miles, soaking it all in as I picked up a few runners who had faded a bit in the middle but were finishing strong.

I crossed the line in 3 hours, 14 minutes and 37 seconds. 

It’s always a relief to stop the watch on the line and realise you’ve managed to pace the race well. Afterwards I managed to catch up with a couple of the runners who had been in the group for the first couple of hours who had still managed to run big Personal Bests – this is why we pace!

How to get into pacing

I’d highly recommend pacing as a totally unique way to experience events. 

It’s not quite as tiring (at least not physically) as racing and often you get even more of the atmosphere – mainly because you’re so identifiable and the crowd love cheering for the pacer! It’s also a great way to meet and speak to lots of interesting runners.

Pacing is for everyone – at London there were pacers for finish times from 3 hours through to 7 hours 30 minutes. Provided you can keep going at the pace and you’re friendly and encouraging to everyone around you, you can be involved! 

If you are interested,  there are sites you can volunteer with that provide pacers for races across the country. Alternatively, Google events you're interested in racing and see if they have pacer opportunities.

As for me, I’m hoping to race the 2023 London Marathon, but I’m already considering my 2024 pace application!

*Maths skills are not required to pace!

If all that pacing chat got you excited about taking on a big city race for yourself, check out our full list of marathons, and start training for your own incredible race day experience.

Browse marathons

#BreakTheBias: Women and the endurance events industry

Our mission is to inspire people across the world to come together and experience moments that make them feel alive. We believe the true joy and beauty of these moments comes from the diverse experiences, opinions and actions of the people on the start line.

Our mission is to inspire people across the world to come together and experience moments that make them feel alive. We believe the true joy and beauty of these moments comes from the diverse experiences, opinions and actions of the people on the start line.

In honour of International Women’s Day 2022 and this year’s #BreakTheBias theme, we wanted to start a conversation about the gender bias in our industry. We reached out to some of our incredible female race organisers to talk about their experience as female leaders in endurance events.

Below you can find excerpts of these conversations, covering everything from their experiences of gender bias at work to what can be done to advance gender equality in our industry going forward.


Managing Director at Nice Work

Nice Work put on 240+ self-professed ‘friendly races’ a year across the UK. Their events are designed to be fully inclusive and aimed at runners of all abilities, ages and backgrounds.


Co-founder of LK adventures

LK adventures aim to take away any intimidation around races and events by hosting relatively small guided runs through the hills of Wales. Their events are inclusive, adventurous and open to all.


Co-Founder of Strive Fitness

Strive Fitness are an event organiser with a difference. Rather than exclusively working on races, they organise a range of training events like group runs and weight training sessions.


While improvements made towards total gender equality should be celebrated, there are lots of barriers women face that men don’t. One of those being the experience of work. All of our female race organisers noted aspects of their career that have been impacted by their gender.

Lara, co-founder of LK Adventures, told us that people don’t automatically respect her skills and experience as a woman:

“I come from an engineering background and at times as a young female doing onsite visits, you’re not always seen in the professional sense first”. Lara said that today she enjoys working with female trainers as she feels it creates a supportive atmosphere for women to train in:

“I think the environment you create working with women is particularly positive for females experiencing an event. For example, they may be more likely to speak up if they need to slow down–it helps to create a safe space of inclusion.”

Rosie, co-founder of Strive Fitness, has also experienced challenges as a woman working alone: ”I never liked to be alone working within a gym or doing home visits with clients. It felt like a potentially vulnerable position to be in”.

Rachael, managing director at Nice Work, feels that being a woman has directly impacted her work ethic: “I do think as women we have to work a lot harder. I’ve always been extremely determined and hard working and I think that feels like the only recipe for success”.


We know that the stats showing how many women attend events only tell half the story. We wanted to find out if our female organisers believe women feel encouraged, empowered and confident at events.

Rachael told us that pre-covid, the start line would generally be men only: “Women would move further back leaving the front line up to the men, so I’d go on a crusade with my microphone, inviting women to take their place at the front of the race”.

Interestingly, she’s seen that covid-safety measures have helped women feel less intimidated at races: “We started doing staggered start times and a lot of women told me they felt less intimidated and that the new measures eased their race day nerves”.

Rosie from Strive Fitness said she typically sees a drop in numbers of women at races and training in winter over fears around running in the dark. She finds that women who drop their mileage over the winter are often losing out on a key base training phase:

“I really struggle with this personally too. Knowing that you’ll probably be safe and actually feeling safe out running are unfortunately not the same thing.”


To support her female clients with their winter training, Rosie and the Strive team are working on creating a ‘safe group’ of female runners who can run together outside the winter.

Lara at LK Adventures is also passionate about creating a safe space for more women to get involved in sport: “Doing it in a group takes away the stress of ‘I don’t know where I’m going or am I safe?’ Because there are guides there and other people. Also women can make friends, improving that feeling of inclusion even more”.

Strive Fitness also have plans to create a weekly group winter training session for women: “We’re hoping we can also bring in a self-defence expert for some sessions so our runners can feel a little more confident when out alone.”


This year’s IWD theme is encouraging women to break the bias, remove stereotypes and challenge discrimination.

Lara believes some of these barriers can be broken down by focussing on creating inclusive event experiences:

“It’s important to nurture female athletes in general. An athlete is anyone who’s interested in sport and we should support them in all stages of their journey”.

Lara has found that introductory and intermediate courses are a great way to encourage women to feel more confident in taking on races and running in general:

“The hardest bit about running is the first bit because you’re constantly out of breath. Having people all together at a similar level gives you that space to think, okay I don’t have to be at a certain level to still be a runner.”

Rosie thinks representation online can help:

“Social media is helping break down barriers. There are far more women at the top of the game in fitness now than there were when I was starting out. They may have been around then but I didn’t have the exposure to them.”

Rachael has set measures in place to encourage women to feel comfortable on the day. At Nice Work events, she has made changes to everything from the pre-race briefing to the post-race prize giving:

“At the beginning of the race, I remind and encourage the men to look behind them, explaining that there may be a super fast female that’s going to overtake you and they should empower them to do that.”

Rachael also calls out the female winners first, “The industry body is outdated. The language is always male then female, and the veteran prize category for males starts at 40+ but 35+ for females! There is inequality there already”.

To #BreakTheBias, both men and women in positions of power must ask what they can do to help in their respective fields. Representation matters and we’re committed to ensuring that whatever your background, gender or circumstance, you feel welcome and empowered to take part. These conversations have highlighted issues we as a business can work on to make sure women feel empowered to enter races, safe whilst they’re training and included on race-day.

Thank you to Rachael, Lara and Rosie for inspiring us with your work and using your position to create inclusive and safe environments for women.

Thanks to ladies like you, there us so much cause for celebration over just how far the industry has come, as Rosie summed up nicely:

“It was 1967 when Katherine Switzer jumped the barrier at the Boston Marathon. That’s within my mum’s lifetime. Now she watches her daughter run ultra marathons and be a race director–that’s progress.”

Beau Miles

Beau Miles on Why curiosity is the key to leading an interesting life

Beau Miles is an Australian adventurer, film-maker, writer, speaker, runner and general do-er of weird and wonderful things. Ultimately, he’s curious. And, he satisfies this curiosity by undertaking epic adventures like running 655km along the Australian Alpine Trail, or kayaking around the Southern tip of Africa but also by exploring his own backyard in new and creative ways.

Beau Miles is an Australian adventurer, film-maker, writer, speaker, runner and general do-er of weird and wonderful things.

Ultimately, he’s curious. And, he satisfies his curiosity by undertaking immense adventures like running 655km along the Australian Alpine Trail and kayaking around the Southern tip of Africa. On top of the truly epic adventures, Beau also enjoys exploring his own backyard, in new and creative ways.

Beau’s currently gearing up to release his first book - The Backyard Adventurer - and I spoke to him at 06:00am Jindivick, Victoria time. Beau was sat in the front seat of his car, in relative pitch darkness, to avoid waking his daughter May up. By the end of our call, the sun was rising over his paddock, and it seemed like a fitting end to a great conversation.

Aidan: Let’s start with your book, Backyard Adventuring. How's that going?

Beau: I went and did a signing of it yesterday actually. I must have signed almost 2000 books. And, man, that was hard. Honestly, that was as bloody hard as a lot of things I've done. It was on the other side of Victoria, so I caught public transport to get there and back, just because I hate wasting time in a car. Which I’m sure you’ve realised from my commuting content - Walking 90km to work and Paddle to Work. I hate being bored, and everyone's bored on their commutes, so every now and then I like to spice it up!

Aidan: And is there an underlying message in the book?

Beau: I'm not much of a preacher. But, the underlying message is to just go and do stuff. I've got a natural curiosity for life and for things and for stuff. Curiosity doesn't really have boundaries. I think in some respects, you’ve either got it or you don't, and I've got it in spades.

You lead a pretty interesting life when you're curious, because everything is interesting to you. So I just try to relay that to folks, I suppose. Now you’ve still got to be a good writer whether you're curious or not and that's the craft. So I hope I’ve done an okay job of translating that curiosity and its benefits to folks. Only time will tell.

Aidan: Your adventures often come across as quite spontaneous. What's the structure like behind the scenes?

Beau: Yeah totally. I like to do things that I don’t quite know the outcome of, but there's still calculation behind it all. I think you can still be a good decision maker, with ad hoc decisions. If that makes sense.

I also don't particularly like doing things that I'm not gonna finish or that I'm gonna get lost, or I'm gonna get dehydrated, or I'm gonna get sunburned or not have a good time. So my adventures are all really calculated decisions.

As a storyteller, I know that you can come across a bit more loose and ad hoc and it’s just a bit more fun that way. But in my heart of hearts I kind of know what I’m doing.

Aidan: Is that ultimately what you're trying to do with your content, tell unique stories and teach people something new?

Beau: Yeah I suppose I'm an ok teacher and I've been doing that a long time. That's really my bread and butter. And in a sense, everyone is a teacher, everyone’s a communicator, everyone’s a storyteller. People don’t think that someone working in a service station, or as a cleaner, or a builder, or a farmer, are storytellers. But they are.

Everyone communicates via a story, that’s just how we do it. So that was always my strength as a teacher; to teach stories, to make things relatable. And that’s the same with my adventures and videos.

Aidan: Before you embarked on your 655km run of the Australian Alps, you said that you used to be a jogger but now you're a runner, what do you mean by that?

Beau: To be honest that was kind of a shitty statement on my part. But to me it's really when running becomes a big part of your life. If you're a jogger you do it every now and again, to sort of reset your every day. Whereas running for me is my everyday, it's just ingrained in my life. You know, I’ve been running most days now for 20 odd years.

It also becomes part of your job in a sense. Jogging you can take it or leave it, running is so habitual that it’s like eating breakfast. It doesn’t talk about speed, you know, I’m not particularly fast anymore. There was a time where I was fast, and wanted to be faster. Now, I just want to be strong and fit and I want to get out of the house. So I think that defines me as a runner. But it’s a very personal definition.

Aidan: Have you got any other big running adventures in the making?

Beau: Yeah, I had my biggest foray back into serious ultra running a couple of weeks ago with an exciting expedition I’ve been planning for a while again. There’s been some pretty intense training in the lead up as well and I was training about 12 hours a week in the mountains.

The run itself was 210kms in 3 and a bit days across some mountains - which I won’t disclose just yet. That’ll be a film coming out at some point in the future, so keep your eyes peeled.

Aidan: How often do you fail when you set out on endurance adventures?

Beau: Well, I first tried this last big 210km run, in December and failed. I had to really come back and change my training up. At the time I was doing 8 or 10 hours a week of training then, but I was doing too many flats and smaller hills.

So I came back and said: ‘Right, Beau, you're not a 30 year old anymore.’ You can't just rely on a younger set of legs. So I had to train harder, simple as that.

Aidan: Your ultra runs are always spent alone. Do you view running as a personal, rather than shared experience?

Beau: I get asked to a lot of running events and I really like them. I actually MC’d an ultra running event last weekend and it was really good fun. They’re really good people, runners are great people and that’s what makes these environments so great.

But running is very personal to me, mainly because I’m social the rest of the time. I was never attracted to sports or running by the want of being around others.

Running, for me, is completely my own time. I’m looking, and feeling where I’m going. And yes, I’m thinking about the rest of my life. It’s a place of clarity, which you get to crave after a while, it’s a place where you can think things that are completely and utterly your own, and that you’ll never share. I suppose non-running life is all about sharing, but running is very personal, internal and abstract.

I sometimes even question putting it on film as well. During my last long run across the mountains I had to dig really deep a couple of times when I was out on the trails. There were lots of vertical climbs, lost tracks, blackberries, river crossings, and other wonderful things. And I really just wanted to do it, but as a film-maker and a runner, you need to do twice the work - it’s bloody exhausting. Although it makes a hell of a challenge.

Aidan: Alex Honnold talks a lot about that in Free Solo. Does filming your adventures take away from the experience?

Beau: It's always a compromise. But now I've got a great team of filmmakers around me who are really close friends and generally the film-making and the adventure feels separate.

The film takes time: you revisit things, you edit, you cut, you reshoot, you fill in gaps. The adventure itself goes from A to B to C to D, and I’m really just doing my own thing.

Aidan: Is there a certain selfishness to your adventures, a reliance on your team?

Beau: Yeah, and I struggle with that sometimes. But there’s only 3 / 4 of us and they genuinely have a great time out there in the hills. So it’s not just the Beau experience.

I’m often very envious of what they’re doing. I mean they’re sometimes in helicopters, or sitting at the top of a mountain watching the most glorious sunset, drinking coffee while I’m busting my arse off to be where they are! So in some respects, it’s pretty selfish. But what workplace isn’t?

Aidan: How do you come up with adventures like the mile an hour?

Beau: I think a lot of people think about doing strange projects or think weird things, but don’t actually do them. I don’t say yes to everything, but I think alot about all these things and then I do 1 in 10 of them, or 1 in 100, to actually see it through. Maybe that’s my message: to think weird thoughts. And you know what, every now and again, do it. Because why not?

Now it becomes complicated if you want to film it, or show someone else. That’s a whole other step - you’re a bit more vulnerable, because you actually have to back it up and justify why the hell you’re doing it.

Whereas if you just choose to walk to work, or paddle to the office, you can just do it because it’s a hell of a good experience. It doesn’t need to be showy, or glossy, or a hard fought story. You just do it. And I think that’s liberating.

Beau Miles - 24hr marathon

Aidan: But how do you make that first step towards doing it? Personally, I find events are a great stepping stone for people wanting to live a more active lifestyle.

Beau: Yeah totally and my wife’s the same. She's a really motivated person, but she's more motivated when there's something like an event, or one of her friends is doing it, or she's meeting someone at the park to do it. And I think that’s especially big for people who are used to playing team sports.

That’s where the accountability of an event or commitment with a group is so useful. The message is the same though, whether it’s a marathon, a kayaking adventure, a weird commute to work, or building a shed. Just do them. Pick something, and try it. You’ll probably find you love it.

Sean Conway, having a beer

Sean Conway: An interview on falling in love with running

Sean Conway and adventuring go hand-in-hand. From swimming, cycling, and running the length of Great Britain, to becoming a world record holder for the longest continuous triathlon (4200 miles), or to competing in Gloucestershire’s iconic cheese rolling competition, Sean knows a thing or two about living life outside the norm.

His latest adventure was The 496 Challenge. Here, Sean ran 496km across the 31 days of January in an effort to rediscover his love for running. As you do. The challenge built up incrementally, with 1km on Jan 1st, 2km on Jan 2nd, and so on, until eventually culminating in a 31km run on Jan 31st.

I spoke to Sean to find out more about his story, and how he’s used endurance sports to carve out a life full of adventure. What’s clear is that behind every great adventure, there lies a story. A story of unfulfilled dreams, of bumps in the road, of outright failures and, ultimately, of learnings.

Q: You talk about your hiccups on your website, and that you lost your way in your 20's. Rather than following your dream, you chose the well paid corporate London life. What made you leave, and what did you learn?

Sean Conway: I’ve been thinking about this for about 10 years, but the problem with hindsight is that you reengineer things to suit you now. Whereas at the time it was probably a bit of luck and a lot of hard work. So talking about it now, it is hard to grasp exactly what it was.

I definitely didn’t chase the goals and dreams that I had, I just let them sit there, which was my biggest mistake. I thought,  ‘Ok I have these goals and they’ll happen one day.’ Earning money was my focus and and to be honest, I thought I needed more money to live a fulfilled & purposeful existence - which actually didn’t make me happy at all. 

The “money doesn’t make you happy” argument is tricky, especially if you know how it feels when you literally have no money. I came to the UK from SA with £100, not knowing anyone, landing up in Cambridge cutting cabbages in a salad factory!

Q: So money is still important to you, but it isn't a main driver?

Sean: Exactly. What money definitely allows you, is the simple things you need to survive. But there also comes a point when you have ‘enough’ for financial security, and for some luxuries. That’s when you have to make a choice.

For me, I pushed things too far, in terms of the financial dream, and sacrificed all happiness. That said, I hate throwing the word happiness around, because when you’re not happy you think you’re failing - there’s a difference between happiness and joyfulness too - it’s fulfilment, really, I think. I’d fallen out of love with photography because I wasn’t doing the stuff I wanted to do - the goals  and dreams I had at 15. 

I got caught up in my 20s thinking earning more money would give me more time & freedom to pursue the things I wanted, but the complete opposite happened - more stress, commitments, and often more debt too.

Q: I presume quitting in that context was easy?

Sean: Absolutely. If you’re not getting any fulfillment from something, if no one else is benefitting from it, and if you don’t see a future in it, then it’s easy to quit. Had I had a family, a mortgage… then all of a sudden it becomes a different story, so I’m aware it can be dangerous to just to tell people, ‘Go quit your job’ if they have no other plan.

You need to have a plan, man! At some point you have to consider the end goal. I got into adventure sports because I needed the adventure element of travel, that ‘something’ which would fulfil me. I’m good with deadlines & quitting forced me to make a plan. But, if you’re thinking about it, then I’d recommend making at least a rough plan first, it’s about balance.

Q: And have you always been into sports?

Sean: Not particularly, I mean we had to do sport at school but I was terrible at rugby, didn’t play cricket, rubbish at athletics. I was ok at Canoeing actually but I gave that up when I was about 19. So it was definitely the sense of adventure that came first.

To be honest, getting into sport later was about being skint. I sold my photography company for £1 and I knew I wanted to travel and do something purposeful, but I couldn't really afford it. So, I genuinely thought, if I try to break some sort of world record then I can get sponsorship.

The endurance sport factor was also slightly fuelled by the fact I’d cycled Lands End to John O’ Groats before in 2008 and this second meltdown was in 2011. So I kind of knew that getting up, cycling all day, sleeping & repeating, was something I was good at and that I liked. Except I just wanted to do it faster than anyone else. That genuinely excited me.

Q: So, choosing endurance sports was in part a financial decision, but in part about the competitiveness of doing things no one had done before?

Sean: Absolutely. The goal was the first thing, but realistically I had to get someone else to fund it. Pretty much all sports on the planet are only achievable through sponsorship. It’s great that sponsorship can make things possible and I’m grateful for that - things like the Olympics wouldn’t be possible without athletes being able to train to get there.

I basically thought, “I’m going to become a non-professional sports person, who has to think of a record, and then break it”. Which sounds easier than it is, because if it’s too easy, no one could be bothered and if it’s too hard, no one will fund it!

Q: Looking at challenges like the length of Britain triathlon, what is your response when your mind & body just say no?

Sean: I only really get that feeling when I’m swimming and running - it’s very rare that I’m super miserable on the bike. Except maybe early mornings when it’s cold and your clothes are wet. But, swimming can be a daily struggle, putting on the wetsuit and getting into the water, it’s tough.

Everyone says it’s type 2 fun, where you look back later and go ‘oh that was fun’, but it’s been 8 years now and I’m still looking back thinking that wasn’t fun - so maybe the swimming was type 3 fun!

Cold water swimming is just hard motivationally. The length of Britain triathlon itself was years apart, and because of how miserable the swim was, I think I’ll be the only person to have done all 3 disciplines the length of the country. Unless Ross Edgeley decides to cycle & run it!

Sean Conway, wild swimming.

Q: Let's talk about your 496 challenge - what was your thinking behind that?

Sean: Well I’m turning 40 in April, and in the back of my mind I knew I wanted to get more into running in my 40s as cycling has always been my main focus. The 496 challenge was my way of getting into running and discovering a real love for it.

I thought I’d start slowly with 1km and increase my mileage each day by 1km and that maybe that’ll make me fall in love with running. If you do that in a 31 day month, then it adds up to 496km for the whole month. It sounds doable but it’s super backended, it takes 22 days to do the first half but the first 10 days ends up being about the same as the last 2 days I think!

It definitely builds a good foundation and I was amazed at how many people got on board. In the end there were hundreds of people who gave it a go and I think at least 50 finished it with me. I made a little video about it as well which was fun.

Q: Did it work - did you fall in love with running?

Sean: It’s strange - the fitness from that month stayed with me - but annoyingly after it I got ill and had a period where I didn’t run for a few weeks. We all know running is so injury dependent, but when I came back to it I felt amazing and that’s the place you want to be at with running I think - it gave me a really good foundation.

Cycling you can just go all day - but running you are balancing an injury game the whole time which can make you lose your love for it if you don’t manage it well. So starting small is good I think. All in all, yes I think it worked, I think I really did fall in love with running.

Q: And in 2019 you completed the Virgin Money London Marathon, how did that compare to your usual adventures?

Sean: It was great, I loved it, the crowds were awesome, the route was awesome, the running was awesome. Well, actually that’s a lie, the running wasn’t awesome. I was doing the run in this massive scout badge (for Scouts) which was bouncing around and the straps would fall off my shoulders. Imagine you’re running while trying to balance a tray of drinks, well that’s how it felt, except for 26 miles.

Overall though, I loved it as an experience and I’d definitely do the London Marathon again as it feels special. I’m not sure about other marathons yet, I’m self motivated so I don’t feel I need the crowds and to be honest, I’m not quick enough. I’m like a 4 hour marathon guy so overtaking is tough and the crowds aren’t always easy for my kind of running.

Sean Conway running the London Marathon dressed as a scout badge

Q: Would you take part in other endurance events, perhaps ultramarathons?

Sean: At the moment, the plan is to do those organised events later in life. I’d definitely enjoy doing a couple of long ultras. So yes when I’m a bit fitter and more robust - maybe in my mid 40s it would be nice to push myself in the ultra world.

I’d also love to do some more storytelling in the form of my adventures, like the 496 challenge. I’m doing a marathon a day at each of the National Parks as a love letter to the National Parks of the UK. Then once covid eases I’d love to run across America or perhaps the length of Vietnam or India.

I definitely want to do a run which would take me at least 3 months. So it’s still a challenge but not so long that it stops being an athletic journey & achievement, as opposed to just going travelling. There’s definitely loads of ideas - I just need to convince my wife!

Q: You say that 'adventure in its purest form is simply a way of thinking' - how can people find adventure in normal life?

Sean: It’s tricky, for me it comes naturally to think adventurously. And I’m grateful for that. My advice would be that if you find yourself stuck in a routine, just change it. There are so many small ways in which you can be more adventurous. Think, if you’re eating the same thing each day, try something else. If you’re running the same route every day, find a new one. If you’re listening to the same music everyday, listen to new music.

Personally, I’m quite inquisitive when it comes to nature and I hate routine, I hate doing the same thing even if it’s just for a week so I’m loving being flexible and being able to work from home. There’s a lot you can do from home too, for example I ended up doing different things within the 496 challenge runs, like planting a tree. Even within that there is a mini adventure; you need to decide all the fun things like where it should go, which tree am I going to plant and so on.

Picking up litter running was something I did on another run too. For my mental health I like to do the big things as well -  I thrive on making the big things happen and I’m very goal driven. Generally, I think, if I don’t do the big challenges whilst I can, then I’m going to regret it. This is all in the hope that when my son is a teenager he’ll think I’m cool! Although I’ve heard from a number of reliable sources that this is impossible.

Q: How big a factor is mental health behind the way you live?

Sean: Yeah, it’s big. Luckily, I find it quite easy to get out of a rut in my head and I know the formula now.. So if I ever find myself in one then I do a little exercise. That said, exercise alone generally makes me feel better on that particular day, but it isn’t always enough to get completely out of a rut.

Having a bigger goal, a crazier goal and doing the exercise required to reach that specific goal - that’s what’s truly important for me. Also, telling people about the goal helps. You need that accountability, you need people checking in on it so that you don’t lose motivation.

I always say to people, if you’re thinking about starting an adventure or doing something challenging then set up the Just Giving page NOW! Just get started, set up a website, tell your friends, put it in post-it notes on your mirror, follow through with it! Let’s be honest, if you have a reason NOT to do something, then you might not do it.

Sean Conway on an adventure
Run for Heroes montage of runners|Olivia Strong, Founder of Run for Heroes

Q&A: How Run For Heroes Came About According to Its Founders

Run For Heroes started on a whim when Olivia Strong was out on one of her favourite running routes, around Edinburgh’s Arthur’s Seat. During her run, she thought of an Instagram challenge - #Run5Donate5Nominate5 - to help raise money for NHS charities who were battling with the impact of Covid-19.

What started out as a fundraiser on Instagram for friends and family quickly went viral and, by April 2020, the challenge had raised £1 million. Now, almost a year on, Run for Heroes has raised over £7 million for NHS charities that’s gone toward mental health support, food delivery, overnight wash-bags, sleep pods, travel costs, and much more.

I spoke to founder Olivia Strong and co-founder India Pappalardo-Strachan, to find out a bit more about themselves, the values which lie at the heart of Run for Heroes. Excitingly, Run for Heroes have no launched their next big challenge - 5k May - which you can sign up for on the Run for Heroes website.

Olivia, in the span of about a month, you started one of the most successful viral campaigns the UK’s ever seen, all from just being out on a run… have you always been an active person?

Olivia: For sure, I’ve always had a passion for running and this definitely stemmed just from running around in the playground at a young age. I think it first started out as a competitive thing. I remember winning races against friends when I was younger and my school decided to put me forward for competitive racing. After that, I started to compete on a weekly basis and really loved the 100m and 200m events.

So you started out with athletics and competitive running… When did that stop?

Olivia : It was mainly when I left school and started at University. The school environment kind of naturally lends itself to competitive racing and organised sports, but at uni running quickly became my main form of exercise and I started to build up my distances.

Agreed, long distance running in particular seems to be something people turn to after school or later in life. What does running mean to you now?

Olivia: Running is my number one tool for clearing my mind and structuring my days. I also love other activities for much the same reason and being back up in Edinburgh has allowed me to really explore again. On the weekends you’ll often find me swimming in the Scottish seas, despite the freezing temperatures. I find it sets me up for the weekend (or, admittedly, cures any hangover).

And it was while you were out running that you had the idea of Run For Heroes?

Olivia: Yeah, that’s right I think it was about a week into lockdown and I’d dragged myself out of bed for a run - it’s also Scotland so it was raining I think. I went for one of my favourite running routes in Edinburgh, up and around Arthur’s Seat, and noticed how many others were out running. That’s where I had the first Run for Heroes idea: Run 5, Donate 5, Nominate 5. I called my Mum and told her about it then and there and I suppose after that, although it’s cliche, “the rest is history”.

Absolutely, and I think pretty much everyone I know took part. Okay, taking a break from Run for Heroes, what do you listen to when you run? We’re big on podcasts at Let’s Do This!

Olivia: Ah I love podcasts too, ‘How I built This’ is my all-time favourite. But  I actually don’t listen to podcasts when I run. Generally I keep podcasts for evening walks or something ….We’re actually creating a Run for Heroes podcasts, so keep your eyes (or ears), peeled for that!

I’ll definitely give it a listen and perhaps we can add it to our recommended list. Another random one given we’re still in lockdown - what’s your current go-to TV series?

Olivia: I just finished watching The Queen's Gambit, very much recommend it, but I appreciate I’m a bit late to the game!

I’m actually yet to watch, I’ll give it a go. Right, one thing I have to ask, have you ever entered a running event?

Olivia: 100%! Pre-covid I was getting involved in a running event pretty much every month. My first long distance race was The Royal Parks half in London. It was absolutely epic - I remember running up the Mall listening to Move On Up and there was genuinely no feeling quite like it.

There really is no feeling like it. I suppose that leads onto another important topic - exercise and mental health. How important is running for your own mental health and the work you do?

Olivia: It’s huge and it’s just so clear how powerful a tool running is for mental wellbeing. Personally, I use running to clear my head and start off the day - I’m a big advocate that going on a run, or a brisk walk is incredibly beneficial. This is even more true when I’m feeling stressed, overwhelmed or just a bit down and that’s when I really force myself to put my trainers on. The hardest bit is finding the motivation to get yourself out the house, but once you’re out you instantly feel better for it.

Agreed - it's been a saviour during lockdown. So taking it back to Run for Heroes - one of our core values at LDT is The Team Triumphs. How important were the rest of the Run for Heroes team in its success?

Olivia: Simply put, huge. I’ve been fortunate to work closely with India and have a team of trustees around me who have all helped shape Run For Heroes and get it to where it is today. India and I have known each other for over 20 years and went to school with one another so working together has all been a very natural progression. We also both have different skill sets to  bring to the table which has made the whole experience so much easier (and enjoyable!). And because of our relationship - I’ve rarely had to map out my thoughts to her as she will already be on the same page. 

As for the rest of the team, we feel incredibly grateful to have such a wonderful board of trustees who keep us right when it comes to finance, legalities, PR, media support and more (the slightly less exciting stuff of starting a company, but probably the most important!).

I love the look and feel of the Run for Heroes brand. What are the values that lie at the base of this?

India: Hey Aidan! Well, at the time of the first campaign there was a real sense of unknown as lockdown had just been introduced and the news was extremely heavy. We saw how much it was really affecting people and their mental health and I just thought it was important for us to create a space on the internet where, although still tied to the pandemic, didn’t carry the same weight surrounding it.

So the brand identity was mainly born from trying to bring some positivity to what was a very worrying time?

India: Yeah definitely, creating a brand was never really our intention, it just happened organically. We were using lighthearted designs as an opportunity for storytelling and showcasing the amazing things that so many people were doing. I was spending all of my downtime around work drawing for the campaign and I was definitely using this as my own distraction!

How did you manage to keep up as the brand began to grow?

India: Because the campaign grew with such pace, Run For Heroes started to become a really defined brand in itself. We made sure all our graphics and animations had a really colourful and playful nature because they were going out and being shared further on social media. That was when we began thinking of it as more of a brand and discussing how we could adapt it to be used beyond our social channels. 

In general we try to use imagery that showcases the diversity and movement of our community, and also celebrate their individual wins, instead of only focussing on the cause they are running for. The community that grew from the first campaign are still such cheerleaders for us and we want to include them in any way that we can. Making it exciting to engage with our content by creating positive and upbeat visuals seems to be working so far!

Okay, last one, what’s next for Run for Heroes?

Olivia: Well, we’ve just been granted charitable status, which is super exciting! To kickstart it all off we’re launching our next social media led virtual campaign which will run throughout the whole month of May, and opening this up for all charities to get behind. Through 5kMay we want to turn the fifth month of the year into a celebration of running and fundraising. 

After that Run For Heroes will really just continue with its mission to get as many people active as possible while raising vital funds for health & wellbeing initiatives. Our goal is to make fundraisers more accessible, more inclusive and more sustainable - shaping a brighter future!

Sign up for the Run for Heroes 5k May as an individual, or a team.

5 from 5: Steph Davis

In December 2019, London-based but Scottish-born Steph Davis finished the Valencia Marathon with a blistering time of 2:27:40. In March 2021, Steph beat her personal best by 24 seconds and qualified for the Tokyo Olympics with a time of 2:27:16 at the Great British marathon trials. This remains the 9th fastest marathon ever run by a British woman and it’s hard to believe that she only ran her first marathon in 2018, bursting onto the scene with a staggering 2:41:16 at the 2018 Berlin Marathon. Steph not only runs an incredible marathon, but also manages to balance her training schedule with a job at Lazard Asset Management, which helps her maintain balance and focus.

Steph running in The Valencia Marathon in December 2019 where she made Olympic qualifying standard with a time of 2:27:40

1. What is your background and how or why did you get into running?

Name: Steph Davis

Age: 29

Born: Glasgow, Scotland

Living: London, England

5 words to describe me: enthusiastic, motivated, perfectionist, organised, loyal 

How I got into running: I joined a new school when I was 13 where we had to run in the school cross country race. I was determined not to make a fool of myself so gave it my all (and coughed up my guts!) to do well. I ended up coming first and surprised myself how much I enjoyed it. This secured me a spot on the school running team, and I’ve been into running and keeping fit ever since. 

Steph running in her first marathon in Berlin in 2018 

2. What are your top 5 tips for someone looking to get seriously into running?

  1. Join a club or get a running buddy: training with others helps to keep you motivated and push you during sessions 
  2. Be patient: don’t jump in at the deep end, enjoy the process and take your time; this is important to avoid injury 
  3. Find a training plan: do your research or join a club to follow a training plan. This will provide you with structure and balance in your training load
  4. Set goals: small and big goals; the small ones are just as important in order to reach the end goal!
  5. Be positive: there will be bad days, but don’t give up as these will make you stronger
Steph runs for the Clapham Chasers, a running club based in South West London

3. Other than conventional training, what do you do to help yourself be the best athlete you can be?

  1. Balance: I ensure I have balance in my life so it is not all consumed by running and I can keep motivation levels high. I work part-time at Lazard Asset Management, which gives me a change in focus, routine and social interaction away from training. 
  2. Injury prevention: General strength and conditioning is important to reduce your chance of injury but I spend a lot of time working on my weaknesses that have linked to injuries and niggles. I am a very diligent person so if the physio tells me to do something 3 times a day, I won’t skip it! 
  3. Swimming: This is something I am really missing at the moment! I used to avoid swimming at all costs but I suffered from a hip injury in 2018 and this was one of the sports I could do pain free. Since then I go to the pool 2-3 times a week for an easy recovery swim. I find it really therapeutic and relaxing on my muscles. A lot of runners aren’t a fan of swimming but it is good to keep options open so you’ve always got something to fall back on if you have to take time out of running.  
  4. Recovery: this is just as important as the running sessions to get the best out of yourself. A proper night’s sleep (8-9 hours) and a balanced diet (this includes treats in moderation), is key! 
Steph with her coach after a training session in Valencia

4. What are you doing during COVID-19?

  1. Started a 30-day yoga program (‘Yoga with Adriene’ on YouTube) and have got the family involved. Yoga is usually the first thing to go when life is busy but at the moment I have no excuse!
  2. Whilst all races have been cancelled or postponed, I’m focusing on building a stronger base. 
  3. Got on board the Go Zwift trend to replace my usual cross training on the elliptical.  
  4. Baking more and trying not to eat it all in one sitting!

5. What are your top 5 race highlights or lowlights?

  1. My top highlight and achievement so far is running the Olympic qualifying standard at the Valencia Marathon in December 2019 (2:27:40). My best friend also completed her first marathon on the same day so it was great to share this together. 
  2. I absolutely loved running in my hometown at the London Marathon. The crowds were incredible! 
  3. Finishing 3rd place at the British Half Marathon Championships (Vitality Big Half) and earning my first GB vest for the World Half Marathon Championships (which has since been postponed because of COVID-19). 
  4. Crying my eyes out whilst crossing the finish line in 1st place at Oxford Half Marathon was a lowlight!  I didn’t get the time I was on track for because of the torrential conditions but the tears were definitely a tad dramatic! 
  5. I ran my first track 10,000m race at the Night of the 10k PBs last June, a top class field and the atmosphere is like one giant party! But I learnt that fajitas are not a great pre-race meal…

Big thanks to Steph for sharing her insights and inspiration with the Let's Do This community. We wish her all the best for the upcoming season (whenever that may be!) and hope to see her at the Olympics sometime soon! You can find out more and follow Steph's journey here on Instagram. 

5 from 5: Mark Beaumont

On 17 September 2017, Mark Beaumont rose to acclaim as he completed a record breaking cycle around the world; covering over 18,000 miles in 78 days, 14 hours, and 40 minutes. Prior to this, Mark embarked on a number of other notable adventures: in 2010 he cycled the Americas, in 2011 he rowed from Resolute Bay to Nunavut Territory as part of a team of 8, and in 2015 he cycled from Cairo to Cape Town – again breaking the world-record for the fastest solo ride across the length of Africa. Beaumont can be aptly characterised as an adventurer, cyclist, documentary maker, author, and broadcaster. But, above all his accolades and achievements, he cites the importance of human connection in the making of any great experience.


My name is Mark Beaumont, I am 37 years old and I live in Edinburgh with my wife Nicci and 2 young daughters. I currently hold the Circumnavigation World Record by bicycle, covering 18,000 miles in 78 days and 14 hours. I was homeschooled and lived on a farm, so in that regard, sport and adventure were there right from the start. When I was 12 years old I cycled across Scotland and since then, the journeys have just got bigger and bigger.

Source: Mark Beaumont


We can’t all be sprint or power athletes, but we can all endure – endurance is about nutrition, planning and mindset, the physical aspect is far less important and comes after all of the above. Endurance is also a great leveller between men and women, and also across ages – the only thing stopping you enduring is your preparation and your resolve.

Source: Mark Beaumont


A lot of endurance athletes focus on big miles and big hours, whereas I commit a lot of time both cross-training and core strength workouts. Being an endurance athlete is not about being the strongest athlete, but about not injuring yourself, not breaking down – so the more versatile of an athlete you are, the better conditioned you will be for long hours during the events. Unlike most cyclists, I spend time fell-running, which builds up all the small muscle balances around my ankles and knees – purely for injury prevention. I also focus on a fat adapted diet.

Source: Mark Beaumont


During this time, I am taking full advantage of our daily exercise. Given we are only allowed out once a day for about an hour, I am running instead of cycling and my 6 year old daughter comes with me on her bike. Our mission is to have run/cycled every single street in Edinburgh by the time she goes back to school after the summer. It is important to have projects like this and routines, to keep the fitness discipline. This is also a great time to build her confidence and skill-set as a young athlete.

Source: Bikmo


Over the past 15 years, my expeditions have taken me to about 130 countries. Whilst I have mainly been pushing firsts and fastests, the aspect which motivates me most is not the athletic ambitions, it is the people, places and cultures that I get to experience.  Whilst I am not an adrenaline junkie, there is certainly a level of risk taking on these journeys and the highs and lows are almost always aspects that you can’t plan for. You will also notice that my high points are not the World Records or the accolades, they are the human connections and money-can’t-buy experiences made along the way.

Here are some low points which have stuck with me. Capsizing mid-Atlantic while attempting to break the record of a 30 day Atlantic crossing and subsequently spent 14 hours fighting for our lives; seeing climbers fall to their death on Denali in Alaska; filming the changing sea levels on the Kiribati Islands; rowing through the high Arctic in Canada to show how the ice is melting; and losing my great friend David Peat, to myeloma. David was the man who got me into filmmaking.

But for every low point, there have been some truly amazing highlights. To name a few: cycling alongside a giraffe at full canter in Botswana; rowing through a pod of beluga whales in the Arctic; the friendship of strangers, for example, staying at a truck stop in the middle of the Sahara desert; free riding the world’s highest volcano in Chile; and, when finishing my latest cycle around the World, seeing my family for the first time in a few months.

Source: Mark Beaumont

|||||Lucy Bartholomew|||

5 From 5: Lucy Bartholomew

Lucy Bartholomew burst onto the ultra running scene by running her first 100km race with her dad when she was just 15 years old. Since then, the Melbourne, Australia native has continued on her upward trajectory, tucking a number of accomplishments under her belt, including winning the Ultra-trail Cape Town and Ultra-trail Australia, and coming 3rd in her first ever Western States 100. The plant-based athlete loves cooking up new recipes, and when she’s not running you can find her in the kitchen, spending quality time with family and friends, or practicing yoga in the sun. Here she gives us her '5 from 5' - 5 questions with 5 tips, answers or ideas.


Hi Everyone! I hope you are doing well, safe and making the best of a difficult time that we are all in together. Remember that you are not alone, you are worthy and all those emotions within you are totally valid. Let’s Do This asked me to write a blog to introduce myself, and maybe share some light in these darker days. I decided to call this blog my ‘5 from 5’. 5 questions with 5 tips, answers or ideas.  The hope is that we can get more people to do their 5 from 5 and start a positive chain reaction of good ideas.

Source: Lucy Bartholomew

1. What is your background and how did you get into running? 

Name: Lucy Bartholomew 

Age: 23, born 20th May 1996

Country: Australia, Melbourne 

How I got into running: My Dad was always a runner. I watched him complete marathons and run as his commute to work, but was never really interested in it myself. When he wanted to try something new and entered a 100km race in 2011 held in the Blue Mountains, Sydney, I became more interested; not so much about the running, but the scenery, the challenge and the people that this sort of race drew. Once I watched the whole event take place I knew I wanted to do it. Then, at 15 years old, I ran side by side with my Dad for 100km along the Victorian coast line and haven’t looked back since. 

5 words to describe you? Stubborn, mindful, passionate, consistent and motivated.

Source: Lucy Bartholomew

2. What are your top tips for joining the Ultra running world?

  1. Don’t do it alone: There are so many good social running groups that are suitable for everyone, and are more about enjoying the process and finding the best pub/cafe after!
  2. Get the right gear: If you’re really going to give running (at any distance) a chance, you need to invest a little bit. For women, the right sports bra will change the feeling of running. For guys, the right shorts can help everything fall into place. 
  3. Fuel your activities: Eating and running go hand in hand, energy in-energy out. Make sure you are eating enough the days you are training, and enough of the right foods; I opt for a plant-based diet but any diet filled with unprocessed and colourful foods will help a lot. If you’re looking to step into the ultra world, eating ON the run is your next challenge; find things that sit well with you and don’t just listen to the gel ads. Try alternatives until you find what works best for you. 
  4. Research: Social media and media in general is amazing, you can find the answer to anything you want. Don’t be afraid to ask questions, read reports or articles. The trail running community that I know are some of the friendliest people and the most giving of their time. I still remember writing to my heroes and being gobsmacked they wrote back.
  5. Make it fun: Consistency is the key to success in the running game. Of course it’s not going to feel great if you just go out and run hard, rest for two weeks and then go again. Just a little something every day to help you achieve your goals will help build that ‘base’. “Brick by brick” is what I like to say. By making a strong foundation, your bones and muscles have time to get strong with you.
Source: Lucy Bartholomew

3. Other than running, what do you do to help yourself be the best athlete you can be?

  1. Sleep: This is a huge part of your body’s ability to recover. When we get into a routine, sleep tends to fall to the bottom of priorities. If you find yourself always pushing off sleep to get an extra run in, be careful as that can often be counterproductive to your performance. I aim for 7-9 hours of sleep every night.
  2. Nutrition: Take the time and energy to meal-prep nutritious, healthy meals and snacks as much as you can. Nowadays, it really is so easy to eat well; things come already chopped and prepared for you, and all you have to do is whack it in a bowl and put it in your mouth. I love making things like bliss balls for after runs, smoothie bowls for breakfast and hummus ready for a wrap or crackers whenever I need.
  3. Strength: I don’t mean you need to get a gym membership, some protein powder and to start squatting 3x your body weight. You can do most things with just your body weight and a mat. Including some core work, squats and single leg/balance exercises into your routine will help you a lot with your form and muscle activation in the long run.
  4. Blood tests:  I am a huge believer in knowing what’s going on inside your body. Being intuitive is great, but I think we all too often just get used to feeling tired, and call it “life/ work/ training”. Finding out about your hormone and vitamin levels (e.g. Iron, Vitamin D etc) at least twice a year can help you understand your body and treat and train it optimally. 
  5. Breathe: It might sound lame, but taking the time to sit, breathe and relax is one of the hardest things to do these days. Take some time to centre yourself each day or each week to understand your ‘why’; the why you are doing what you are doing, and let go of the doubt.
Source: Lucy Bartholomew

4. What are you doing during COVID-19?

  1. In Australia we are still allowed outside so I am still doing my training runs but keeping them closer to home to reduce the risk of needing help that can come with running in more remote areas. I am also doing a lot of my runs solo, to reduce my contact with others. 
  2. Taking the time to cook my meals and really enjoy the process of creating and eating them.
  3. Finding that yoga routine that got lost sometime in 2019.
  4. Colouring in. I’m a huge fan of sitting down and being a kid again and forgetting the problems!
  5. Sleeping in, taking the mornings slow and listening to the body; not trying to be a hero.
Source: Lucy Bartholomew

5. What are your top 5 running highlights or lowlights?

  1. Winning the Ultra Trail Australia 100km on my 21st birthday with my brother crewing me and my Dad behind me.
  2. Coming 3rd at the Western States 100 in 2018. It was my first 100 mile event and I ran it blissfully unaware of how far 160km actually is.
  3. My first 100km with my Dad. Running side by side for 12:30:00 and finishing knowing it wouldn’t be my last.
  4. Running the Oxfam 100km with 3 of my best mates, 1 who had never run more than a marathon before. Seeing that process and being a part of every step (and every vomit stop) was something truly special. 
  5. Throwing up for 50km of a 120km race in Europe and wanting to quit. After walking up a hill and dropping all expectations and fears, as night descended I found myself catching headlamp after headlamp and ended up finishing 5th. 
Source: Lucy Bartholomew

Thanks Let’s Do This for creating a space to escape the constant talk of the world right now. Running will never leave us and the community will only be stronger after this. We got this, one step at a time!

Source: Lucy Bartholomew

Inspiration. Delivered.

Sign up to receive personalised event recommendations, our monthly newsletter and the latest updates from the Let’s Do This community.

Thank you! Your submission has been received!
Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form.