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Sparta Chicks Radio: Mindset | Confidence | Sport | Women

Jen Brown - Running and Triathlon Coach, Author and Mindset Coach for Women SpartaChicks Radio brings inspiring stories coupled with practical, tried-and-tested-in-the-real-world advice from successful women in sport, business and life. Jen Brown from Sparta Chicks Radio is a Running and Triathlon Coach and Writer. The goal of Sparta Chicks Radio is to share inspiring stories coupled with practical, tried-and-tested-in-the-real-world advice from successful women in all walks of life about the realities of fear, self-doubt, courage, bravery, success and living life on your terms. From world class athletes, brilliant business minds to everyday women undertaking epic adventures, Sparta Chicks Radio will help you tap into your inner strength, courage, bravery and determination so you can chase your dreams and live a more fulfilling life on your terms. Find out more at www.spartachicks.com
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Sparta Chicks Radio: Mindset | Confidence | Sport | Women
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Oct 20, 2019

Lou discovered trail running at 43 and went onto win both her 1st 100km race and her 1st 100mi/160km race.

Then earlier this year, Lou finished 2nd at the prestigious Ultra Trail Mt Fuji; the largest 100mi/160km race in the world!

In this conversation, Lou and I discuss:

- how she developed a passion for rock climbing in her early 30s and what prompted her to focus on running in her early 40s,

- why she thinks she was able to develop relatively quickly in the sport,

- why she doesn’t always look forward to training.

- why she prioritises sleep and will do a shorter session or even miss a training session if she thinks she hasn’t had enough sleep,

- how she mentally prepares for a major race, including turning pre-race nerves into positive energy,

- her experience with the Imposter Complex (and why she doesn’t like the word ‘imposter’), and

- her experience at Ultra-Trail Mt Fuji and why she describes the result as “bewildering”.

Get the full show notes for the episode here.

Visit the Sparta Chicks Radio website here 

Follow Sparta Chicks Radio on Facebook: facebook.com/SpartaChicks 

Follow Lou on Instagram: instagram.com/loumclifton

Oct 6, 2019

Mel Nicholls was a healthy, fit and active 22 year old when, in 2001, she was struck down by a stroke.

7 years later, her 3rd stroke left her with permanent paralysis and limited function primarily in her left side.

4 years later - and just 15 months after taking up wheelchair racing - Mel was selected to represent Great Britain at the 2012 London Paralympic Games in the 100m and 200m.

After representing Great Britain for the second time at the Rio Paralympics in 2016, Mel moved away from track cycling and back into endurance events, including the New York and London marathons.

Looking for a new challenge to feed her adventurous spirit, Mel combined her love of adventure and her competitive streak and set the goal to break the World Record for handcycling the length of Britain - from the south to the north along a route known as Lands End to John o’Groats (or LEJOG). It’s a journey of 874mi/1,400km.

Not only did Mel break the record, but she also smashed it!

Get the full show notes for the episode here.

Visit the Sparta Chicks Radio website here

Follow Sparta Chicks Radio on Facebook: facebook.com/SpartaChicks 

Follow xxx on Instagram: instagram.com/teamdolly/

Sep 29, 2019

Sarah Davis joined me on the podcast almost two years ago to share her plans to become the first woman to paddle the length of the Nile river.

A journey of 6,853km / 4,200mi from the source of the Nile in Rwanda, all the way to Alexandria on the Mediterranean coast in Egypt, at the time we first spoke Sarah had anticipated the expedition would start in January 2018 and take 7 months.

(You can find the show notes for that episode here)

So Sarah returns to the podcast this week to share how it unfolded!

Spoiler alert!

Things didn’t all go according to plan and two key decisions meant that Sarah wasn’t able to achieve her original goal to paddle the length of the Nile.

However, she has become the first woman to lead an expedition along the Nile.

In this conversation, we discuss:

- how she made the decision where to start her expedition; a harder decision with more options than you might think,

- what she felt visiting the source of the Nile in Rwanda after 3+ years of planning,

- the very angry hippo tried to flip and then bite a hole in their inflatable raft just 6 days into the expedition,

- how she was arrested and detained for 3 days in Burundi,

- the point at which she (and her team) decided to catch a ferry on Lake Victoria which meant she wouldn’t achieve her original goal to paddle the entire length of the river (and how disconnecting from ego and exploring her ‘why’ made the decision somewhat easier),

- why she cried in a hotel restaurant the day after she finished her expedition, and

- whether the expedition feels like unfinished business.

Get the full show notes for the episode here.

Visit the Sparta Chicks Radio website here 

Follow Sparta Chicks Radio on Facebook: facebook.com/SpartaChicks 

Follow Sarah on Instagram: instagram.com/paddlethenile

Sep 22, 2019

Madhu Tamilarasan is a GP (general practitioner doctor) now living in a regional country town in New South Wales who discovered triathlons in her mid-30s and has since fallen in love with cross (or off-road) triathlons and mountain biking.

She’s competed in (amongst many other races) both the Australian Cross Triathlon Championships as well as the ITU World Cross Tri Championships.

A proudly gay woman, born in England of Indian descent, she brings a unique and insightful perspective to the podcast.

This is a fun and broad-ranging conversation. We discuss everything from coming out to her parents through to why she never let the fact she swam breaststroke in triathlon races for years stop her from competing.

Get the full show notes for the episode here.

Visit the Sparta Chicks Radio website here 

Follow Sparta Chicks Radio on Facebook: facebook.com/SpartaChicks 

Follow Madhu on Instagram: instagram.com/mvt550/

Sep 8, 2019

How do you achieve the seemingly ‘impossible’?

That’s the core of my conversation with return guests Sarah Anne Evans and Pippa Lyon from the InternationElles this week on Sparta Chicks Radio.

On a mission to raise the profile of women in cycling and to fight for equality in the sport, the InternationElles (alongside a French women’s cycling team) rode every stage of the 2019 Tour de France - one day ahead of the men’s professional race.

A journey of 3,640km over 21 days with 53,000m of climbing (with just 2 rest days).

Sarah Anne and Pippa joined me a few months ago on the podcast to discuss the project - including how on earth they were preparing to ride the “most mountainous route” in the 106 year history of the Tour de France!

5 weeks after the ladies rode into Paris, Sarah Anne and Pippa return to Sparta Chicks Radio to share how the experience unfolded.

Get the full show notes for the episode here.

Visit the Sparta Chicks Radio website here 

Follow Sparta Chicks Radio on Facebook: facebook.com/SpartaChicks 

Follow the InternationElles on Instagram:instagram.com/internationelles

Sep 1, 2019

Michael Scragg is an experienced endurance athlete in his own right.

After breaking his neck in a downhill mountain biking accident in the early 2000s, Michael made the switch to road cycling and ultimately into triathlons.

Since finishing ‘dead last’ in his first Half Ironman, Michael has gone onto finish 9 Ironman triathlons as well as multiple 24-hour mountain bike races and ultra-marathons.

He is also married to 2x Sparta Chicks Radio guest and ultra-endurance athlete, Melissa Urie!

(Mel was on the podcast in 2017 to share her experience at the Epic 5 LINK and again early in 2019 to discuss competing at the Ultraman World Championships).

Over the last few years, Michael’s racing career has taken a backseat while Mel pursued her ultra-endurance goals, which have included Ultraman races in Canada, Australia and at the World Championships in Hawaii, the Epic 5 as well as her upcoming race at Uberman.

So in this episode, Michael and I discuss what it’s like to be on the flip side; how to crew for, live with, support and encourage the endurance athletes in your life.

And this topic isn’t complete also without discussing why it’s important for the athlete in the household to be aware of the impact their sport has on the family (in ways you may not have anticipated).

This is a very different conversation from the ones we’d usually have, but it is I think just as important.

Get the full show notes for the episode here.

Visit the Sparta Chicks Radio website here 

Follow Sparta Chicks Radio on Facebook: facebook.com/SpartaChicks 

Aug 25, 2019

A 2x Ironman finisher, Ashley Wiles’ struggles with mental health and body image over the years inspired her to launch Sole Girls, an innovative empowerment program that shares, with girls aged 5 to 12, the tools they need for a confident, happy and healthy life.

And she joins me on Sparta Chicks Radio this week.

In this conversation, we dive into Ashley’s story including:

- the ‘kilometre club’ at her elementary / primary school that laid the foundation for her love of being running,

- how she manages her mental state if she can’t run due to injury,

- how she discovered triathlons (and more recently, boxing and parkour), and

- why she says running saved her life.

Plus we dive into broader issues, including:

- the importance of role models,

- the impact a lack of role models has on the number of girls who drop out of sport,

- the role of sports as “playtime” for kids and adults alike,

- why running (and the body awareness it creates) is fantastic for dealing with anxiety or an overactive brain (how do you get out of your head?), and

- why her focus is now on finding her ‘happy pace’.

Get the full show notes for the episode here.

Visit the Sparta Chicks Radio website here 

Follow Sparta Chicks Radio on Facebook: facebook.com/SpartaChicks 

Follow Ashley on Instagram: instagram.com/evaruns

Aug 18, 2019

Nicole Bradley joined the Australian Army at 20 and served for 22 years. And admits she ‘lost’ herself in the process.

However after leaving the Army, and at the age of 42, Nicole discovered the sport of powerlifting - and life hasn’t been the same since.

Nicole progressed quickly and set her 1st Australian Masters Record for the bench press (she now has 3 records) in her first competition!

Injuries acquired during her service in the Army meant Nicole was eligible to compete (and was selected) to represent Australia at the Warrior Games in the United States and in the 2018 Invictus Games held in Sydney.

And the honour didn’t stop there; much to her surprise, Nicole was appointed the co-captain of the 2018 Australian Invictus Games team! 

In this conversation, Nicole and I discuss:

- why children need to see adults participating in sport,

- why she turned down the first invitation she received to attend an Invictus Games training and selection camp,

- the challenge associated with shifting identity from ‘Army Officer’ to ‘civilian’,

- what prompted her to take up powerlifting at 42,

- how the application process for the Invictus Games caused her to doubt whether her service was significant enough, her injuries were “bad enough” or if she was the right ‘fit’ for the team,

- the lack of appreciation for non-visible injuries,

- the importance of being happy with doing your best on the day, even if it’s not your best performance of all time.

Get the full show notes for the episode here.

Visit the Sparta Chicks Radio website here 

Follow Sparta Chicks Radio on Facebook: facebook.com/SpartaChicks 

Aug 11, 2019

Meredith Quinlan and Jess Baker are two of Australia’s best ultramarathon runners with a string of victories and records to their name.

In recent years, they have begun exploring what lies beyond organised races.

In 2018, their love of travel and running took them to Iceland where they ran the length of Iceland - from the northern tip to the southern tip - and set a Fastest Known Time (FKT) in the process.

The ‘Iceland Traverse’ was a self-supported journey of around 580km which took them 7 days and 13 hours to complete.

In this (laughter-filled) conversation, we discuss:

- how they each discovered running,

- whether there was any sense of rivalry between them,

- why Meredith doesn’t fear failure,

- Jess’ experience with the Imposter Complex and why she says it can be helpful at times,

- where the idea to traverse Iceland came from,

- how Iceland’s rich history of strong women inspired them, and

- the logistics involved in a self-supported crossing of Iceland, which included being powered by chocolate biscuits and slabs of chocolate for a 100km stretch and a 300km section where there were no resupply options,

Get the full show notes for the episode here.

Visit the Sparta Chicks Radio website here 

Follow Sparta Chicks Radio on Facebook: facebook.com/SpartaChicks 

Aug 4, 2019

An elite athlete in two sports and with a PhD in athlete wellbeing, Dr Hannah MacDougall has a unique perspective on emotional, mental and physical performance and wellbeing - so I knew she’d be the perfect guest for Sparta Chicks Radio.

Hannah was 9 when she set the goal to become a Paralympian.

She’s now a dual Paralympian, having competed in swimming at the 2004 Athens and the 2008 Beijng Paralympics.

Unfortunately, Hannah suffered from burnout, fell out of love with swimming and eventually quit the sport.

And that’s when she discovered cycling!

Since then, she’s won multiple medals including Gold at both the Australian Para Cycling Championships and, more recently, World Cup events in Europe.

She was also the first female amputee to compete in the “able bodied” women’s time trial race at the Cycling Australia National Championships.

And her next goal is to represent Australia at her 3rd Paralympics in Tokyo in 2020, this time in cycling.

On top of all that, she has a PhD in Athlete Well-Being and has studied, amongst other things, the use of meditation and mindfulness, in sport and life.

Get the full show notes for the episode here.

Visit the Sparta Chicks Radio website here 

Follow Sparta Chicks Radio on Facebook: facebook.com/SpartaChicks 

Follow Hannah on Instagram: instagram.com/hanmacdougall06

Jul 28, 2019

“93% Harry Potter and 7% Bear Grylls”. That’s how Paul Watkins’ website describes him.

There are lots of other labels that could be applied too; Pharmacist, mountaineer, full-time dad, ultramarathon runner, motivational speaker and property developer.

However, the one label that doesn’t sit comfortably with Paul is “athlete”, which is difficult to appreciate when you consider his list of achievements.

Paul has climbed major peaks on all 7 continents and competed in some of toughest ultramarathon runners in Australia and the world.

Most recently, Paul competed in the 6633 Arctic Ultra; a 614km/380mi self-supported race in the Arctic Circle in temperatures ranging from -20˚ to -40˚ celsius (-4˚ to -4˚F) with an 80% drop-out rate.

And not only did he finish the race, he won!

There’s an interesting theme reoccurring through much of Paul’s story; he’s often “failed” on the first go.

He ‘failed’ on his first attempt to summit Denali (the highest mountain in North America).

I first met Paul in Argentina when we were on the same expedition to climb Aconcagua, the highest mountain in South America - and also his second attempt to do so.

And his victorious race at the 6633 Arctic Ultra in 2019 was his second attempt after he DNF’d 250km into this first attempt in 2017.

And we discuss how on earth a self-confessed nerd won one of the toughest, longest, windiest and coldest ultramarathons in the world.

Paul is a great storyteller and someone who has thought deeply about what it takes to bring the best out of yourself, and others.

Get the full show notes for the episode here.

Visit the Sparta Chicks Radio website here 
Follow Sparta Chicks Radio on Facebook: facebook.com/SpartaChicks 
Follow Paul on Instagram: @_paulwatkins

Jul 21, 2019

Tils’ (as she is generally known) grew up in country New South Wales chasing 3 older brothers around the paddock. So it’s hardly surprising her first foray into sport was on the rugby league field.

Sadly, she had to give up the sport in her early teens because once girls reached a certain age, they were no longer allowed to play against boys - and, of course - there was no girl’s league at the time.

Fast forward a few years and Tils discovered triathlons. And just 4 years later, she made the jump to the professional ranks - which, in hindsight, she now admits was too early.

These days, Tils is an “amateur professional” cyclist who rides at a National level here in Australia with the #1 ranked women’s cycling team in Australia - Specialised Women’s Racing - including at the Tour Down Under in January, 2019.

In this conversation, she shares:

- growing up with male athletes as her role models (because there weren’t any women with a profile in the sport),

- why she says she became a professional triathlete too quickly,

- how she 'hated' swimming yet deliberately set out to change her mindset,

- her struggle with body image, burnout and the Imposter Complex in her triathlon career,

- how she navigates her own "internal bullshit" these days,

- her experience of 'Everesting' on the road to Everest Base Camp in Tibet as well as riding parts of the Silk Road through Kyrgyzstan and Kazakhstan, and

- whether she's always been the type to 'say yes and figure it out later' (or whether that confidence has developed over time).

Get the full show notes for the episode here.

Visit the Sparta Chicks Radio website here 

Follow Sparta Chicks Radio on Facebook: facebook.com/SpartaChicks 

Follow Tils on Instagram: instagram.com/matildaraynolds

Jul 14, 2019

Shelly Horton’s High School career guidance counsellor told her she was too opinionated and warned her to tone it down. Instead, she ignored him and turned it into a career!

Shelly is a journalist, TV presenter and producer and her opinions can be heard multiple times each week on Channel 9 in Australia.

Shelly is also not afraid of open and honest conversations about difficult topics. So I knew she’d be the perfect guest for Sparta Chicks Radio.

In this conversation, Shelly and I discuss:

- the early days of her career (which started in radio) including the very personal reason she didn’t explore a career in TV,

- the “soul-destroying” conversation with her boss about her weight that destroyed Shelly’s confidence and derailed her TV career for almost 2 years,

- the goal-setting course (and the exercise she learnt at that course) that fundamentally changed her life,

- the biggest myths around confidence,

- her experience with the Imposter Complex,

- how she deals with online trolling and public criticism, and

- her experience with Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS) and how she manages it

Get the full show notes for the episode here.

Visit the Sparta Chicks Radio website here 

Follow Sparta Chicks Radio on Facebook: facebook.com/SpartaChicks 

Follow Shelly on Instagram: instagram.com/shellyhorton1

Jul 7, 2019

In 2007, Bonnie Tu was the CFO of Giant Bicycles and decided to join the former Chairman who was riding the Tour of Taiwan, a 900km ride that circumnavigates Taiwan.

At the time Bonnie was in her late 50s and had not ridden a bicycle since High School (and never a bike with gears!).

But when Bonnie walked into a Giant Bicycles retail outlet, she was shocked to realise she couldn’t find a bike or any apparel to suit her needs.

The ride proved to be a "very painful experience". 

And 12 months later, Liv Cycling - the first comprehensive cycling brand dedicated to female cyclists - was born.

Fast forward to 2019 and Bonnie is now the Chairperson of Giant Bicycles and is still incredibly driven to ensure women are empowered to participate in the sport of cycling, via everything from cutting edge components on Liv bikes through to exploring cycling clothes for Muslim women.

Bonnie is a joyous, passionate woman and I am excited to welcome her to Sparta Chicks Radio this week to discuss:

- her childhood growing up in Taiwan,

- her earliest memory of learning to ride a bike,

- how she became involved in the cycling industry in the 70s, yet only got back on the bike for herself in her late 50s (and learning to shift gears in the process),

- the origins of Liv Cycling and it’s commitment to build bicycles “for and by” women, and

- her first triathlon at the age of 68.

Get the full show notes for the episode here.

Visit the Sparta Chicks Radio website here 

Follow Sparta Chicks Radio on Facebook: facebook.com/SpartaChicks 

Follow Liv Cycling Australia on Instagram: instagram.com/livcycling_aus/

Jun 30, 2019

The Body Image Movement can only be described as a revolution.

And it began in 2013 when Taryn Brumfitt posted a ‘non-traditional’ Before + After photo one night on Facebook.

On the left, the ‘before’ photo showed ‘ripped’ Taryn on stage at a bodybuilding competition.

On the right, the ‘after’ photo showed a ‘softer’ Taryn with visible rolls around her tummy looking content and happy.

The switching of the photos (not to mention Taryn’s obviously content and happy nature in the ‘after’ photo) clearly resonated.

Overnight the image went viral and within 12 months, it had been viewed by 100 million people!

That led Taryn to produce the ‘Embrace’ documentary which explored why so many people (and women in particular) hate their bodies.

She’s also founded the Body Image Movement (BMI) which is on a mission to help people love and embrace their body, regardless of shape, size, ethnicity or ability.

Get the full show notes for the episode here.

Visit the Sparta Chicks Radio website here 

Follow Sparta Chicks Radio on Facebook: facebook.com/SpartaChicks 

Follow Taryn on Instagram: instagram.com/bodyimagemovement/

Jun 23, 2019

Muay Thai may, on the surface, appear to have nothing in common with endurance sports, but you might be surprised…

I was certainly was when I spoke with Sylvie von Duuglas-Ittu for this week’s episode of Sparta Chicks Radio.

Sylvie is an American born woman living in Thailand who currently holds the record for the most number of Muay Thai fights by any Westerner - male or female - which (at the time of writing) stands at 242.

And, much to my surprise, she’s been a long-time listener of Sparta Chicks Radio too!

Since taking up what she describes as a “beautiful sport” in New York, Sylvie and Kevin have since moved to Thailand so Sylvie can pursue the sport on a full-time basis, and chase her next goal; the World Record for the most number of professional fights. This record of 471 fights has stood since the 1920s!

In the conversation, we discuss:

- what she gains from listening to the podcast (given she doesn't participate in any of the sports we traditionally cover),

- why she thinks Muay Thai and endurance sports have more in common than you might think,

- how she discovered Muay Thai and why she describes it as a 'beautiful sport’,

- why she (as a woman and feminist) struggles with some of the traditions of the sport (eg, men may enter the ring by climbing over the top rope, but women must go under the bottom rope),

- why it's important to "reduce the space" you give your self-doubt and focus instead on the process,

- how to reframe competition (even in the context of sport) as a collaboration that brings out the best in everyone and an opportunity to practice in gratitude, and

- the biggest life lesson she's learnt from her sport.

Get the full show notes for the episode here.

Visit the Sparta Chicks Radio website here 

Follow Sparta Chicks Radio on Facebook: facebook.com/SpartaChicks 

Follow Sylvie on Instagram: instagram.com/sylviemuay

Jun 16, 2019

Karen Barrett has a remarkable story which reinforces for me of the power of choice and the power of self-belief.

A talented runner as a child, Karen had an offer to train at the Australian Institute of Sport. But was forced to turn it down due to her difficult family circumstances.

Fast forward a few years and she had become “virtually homeless” and had developed a 2-pack-a day (and more on the weekends) smoking habit.

Then in her early 40s, she decided it was time to quit. She started walking her dogs daily and built up to running 5km - in her steel capped work boots no less - before she discovered and bought her first pair of running shoes as an adult.

That transformation started in 2009, and she hasn’t looked back.

Since then she’s gone onto win and set the women’s course record for the Buffalo Stampede Grand Slam (a series of races in the Victorian Alps over 3 days) and this year, in 2019 she became the first woman ever to finish the Down Under 135, a 135mi/217km race described as Australia’s “gnarliest” foot race.

Oh and I should mention - she was 3rd overall too!

In this conversation Karen shares why trail running is so important to her, why she sets out to win any race she enters (and where that confidence comes from), the extensive mental preparation she puts into her races, and how much sleep she got during the 49 hours it took her to finish the Down Under 135 (you’ll be amazed!)

Get the full show notes for the episode here.

Visit the Sparta Chicks Radio website here 

Follow Sparta Chicks Radio on Facebook: facebook.com/SpartaChicks 

Follow Karen on Instagram: instagram.com/karen_barrett_tail.runner/

Jun 9, 2019

Settle in and buckle up; this is a fun, deep, long and laughter filled episode of Sparta Chicks Radio.

Tiffany Winchester is an ultra-endurance cyclist, with a love of doughnuts, who is currently preparing to ride the Paris-Brest-Paris; an iconic 1,200km endurance cycling event in France later this year.

Tiff finished her first bike race as a child and then took a “25 year rest week” from almost all forms of exercise.

It wasn’t until her 30s that she started walking and “procrasta-hiking” (as she calls it) as a way to clear her head and clarify her thoughts while working on her PhD.

After a brief (yet deep) love affair with trail running, Tiff was introduced to the world of cycling 3 years ago - and hated it at first!

Ultimately, she has since found her ‘happy place’ in the incredibly gruelling world of ultra-endurance cycling.

In this conversation, Tiff and I discuss:

- why she had to stop racing for mental health reasons,

- why she didn’t consider herself a ‘cyclist’ until after her first 1,200km ride, and

- the impact social media had on her perception of herself as a cyclist and how it fed her sense of feeling like an Imposter.

Get the full show notes for the episode here.

Visit the Sparta Chicks Radio website here 

Follow Sparta Chicks Radio on Facebook: facebook.com/SpartaChicks 

Follow Tiff on Instagram: Instagram.com/tiffo012

Jun 2, 2019

I could fill a page just listing Samantha Gash’s achievements.

In 2010, and in her first ultramarathon, Sam became the first female and youngest person to complete the Racing the Planet 4 Deserts Grand Slam, running 4 ultra marathons across the driest, windiest, hottest and coldest deserts on Earth.

That was followed in 2011 by a 222km non-stop race through the Indian Himalayas.

It was during that run across the Himalayas that Sam decided to use her running for a greater purpose.

Since then, she’s run 379km solo, non-stop across the Simpson Desert in Australia as well as the length of South Africa’s Freedom Trail (almost 2,000km) to raise funds and awareness for the work of Save the Children.

Then in 2016, as an ambassador for World Vision, Sam set out on her most ambitious project to date; running across India.

Over 76 days, she ran 3,253km from the west to the east of India and, in the process, raised close to $200,000 to fund 6 programs to improve access to education for children in India.

In this conversation, Sam and I discuss:

- the tipping point when Sam transitioned from running for herself to running for others,

- what inspired the ‘Run India’ project as well as the impact it had on her,

- why she cringes at the word 'inspiration’,

- her experience with the Imposter Complex,

- the power of (and what it means to be) truly committed to a goal.

Get the full show notes for the episode here.

Visit the Sparta Chicks Radio website here 

Follow Sparta Chicks Radio on Facebook: facebook.com/SpartaChicks 

Follow Sam on Instagram: instagram.com/samanthagash/

May 26, 2019

Sarah Anne Evans and Pippa Lyon who are both members of the Veloroos; an Australian non-professional women’s cycling team.

This is Sarah Anne’s second time on the podcast. She joined me with her Veloroos teammate Julie Ann Hazlett in July 2017 to talk about winning their category at the 5,000km Race Across American in 2015 (you can find that conversation here).

In 2019, Sarah Anne and Julie Anne, together with a third team member, Pippa Lyon (who you’ll meet today on the podcast for the first time) are about to tackle their hardest challenge to date.

The ladies have joined an international women’s cycling team called the InternationElles for an ambitious project.

Together with a female women’s cycling team, the InternationElles will ride every stage of the 2019 Tour de France, one day ahead of the men’s professional race.

So basically, yes, they are riding the Tour de France!

It’s a journey of 3,640km over 21 stages, which works out at roughly 1200km of cycling per week - for 3 weeks!

And, if that’s not hard enough, the route chosen for this year’s Tour de France has been described as the mountainous in the 106 year history of the race!

The reason: to raise the profile of women in cycling and to fight for equality in the sport. The biggest cycling race in the world has no female representation. The InternationElles are hoping to be part of the push to change that!

Get the full show notes for the episode here.

Visit the Sparta Chicks Radio website here 

Follow Sparta Chicks Radio on Facebook: facebook.com/SpartaChicks 

Follow the InternationElles on Instagram: instagram.com/lucy_bartholomew 

May 19, 2019

How does ocean surf ski paddling figure into one woman’s version of a mid-life crisis?

We ask Quona Ross Atkinson on Sparta Chicks Radio this week!

Quona grew up on a cattle station in North Queensland and started competing in rodeos, camp drafting and show riding from the time she was 3.

An extensive career in barrel racing followed before she took up adventure racing in her 40s.

Fast forward to 2019 and after just 5 years in the sport of ocean surf ski paddling, she’s about to compete in the famous 52km Molokai Challenge (considered the hardest ski paddle race in the world) as well representing Australia for the first time at the age of 51 at the Ocean Racing World Championships.

What’s incredible about Quona’s story is that she is a FIFO worker (‘fly in, fly out’), so for 2 weeks every month, she works 800km from the ocean!

Plus with 2 sons and a husband who is deployed overseas for 6 months at a time, she somehow manages to find the time to chase her extraordinary goals.

The secret: being truly committed to them!

Get the full show notes for the episode here.

Visit the Sparta Chicks Radio website here 

Follow Sparta Chicks Radio on Facebook: facebook.com/SpartaChicks 

May 5, 2019

Kelli Jackson was in her 40s and an “unassuming middle-aged overweight accountant who smoked” when, at a retreat in Bali, she blurted out that she wanted to ride a unicycle around the world.

That was in 2010, but it wasn’t until she “survived” 2015 that Kelli started pursuing her goal - which included:

  • learning to ride a unicycle (she didn’t know how when she set the goal!), and
  • getting a large tattoo of a unicycle and the date she planned to start her adventure.

Talk about being committed to your goals!

Since then, Kelli has ridden her unicycle the length of Taiwan (430km) and later this month will set out to ride the length of South Korea (635km) and hopefully become the first Westerner to unicycle inside North Korea!

Get the full show notes for the episode here.

Visit the Sparta Chicks Radio website here 

Follow Sparta Chicks Radio on Facebook: facebook.com/SpartaChicks 

Follow Kelli on Instagram: instagram.com/1wheelonly

Apr 28, 2019

With a background in social work and after losing her beloved Dad tragically to bowel cancer, it’s hardly surprising Annie Crawford decided she wanted to “make a difference” rather than returning to the paid workforce when she returned to Australia after living in the US for several years.

And she’s made a profound difference in the lives of thousands of Australians ever since.

Annie founded Can Too in 2005, a charity with the goal of creating a healthier and fitter community while also funding innovative cancer research.

To be honest, I always thought of Can Too as a cancer fundraising organisation first and foremost.

But as Annie points out in this conversation, Can Too is dedicated to promoting health and wellbeing and encouraging people to step out of their comfort zone, by committing to an event - perhaps their first 7km, first marathon or first ocean swim - with the support of like-minded people and professional coaches, while raising funds for cancer research.

If you’re in Australia, you’ll no doubt be familiar with the ubiquitous orange singlets worn by runners at most events around the country these days.

Over the last 14 years, over 15,000 people have participated in Can Too programs and raised over $21m for cancer research.

While I was familiar with the work and programs run by Can Too, I wanted to know more about the woman with the vision behind the scenes, so I asked :)

We discuss:

* what inspired Annie to establish Can Too,

* the role running has played in managing her mental health,

* why you need to remember that you can’t die of fear (my new favourite quote!),

* her experience with the Imposter Complex,

And more.

Get the full show notes for the episode here.

Visit the Sparta Chicks Radio website here 

Follow Sparta Chicks Radio on Facebook: facebook.com/SpartaChicks 

Follow Can Too on Facebook: facebook.com/CanTooRunSwim

Apr 21, 2019

Emily Duggan’s story is a perfect example of why it’s important to share the stories of women in sport.

When Emily was a little girl, she was watching TV one weekend and came across the Supercar motor racing series here in Australia and was instantly hooked.

However Emily, in that moment, also realised there were no women racing and thought it was a “boy’s sport” and put it to the back of her mind (as the saying goes, “you can’t be what you can’t see”).

Thankfully the voice that whispered to Emily that day never disappeared and as soon as she started working, she began saving for her first racing car - and hasn’t looked back since.

In 2016, Emily became the 1st female driver to race in the V8 Touring Car Series here in Australia and now in 2019 is racing in the Super3 series (which is the 3rd tier in the Supercar series here).

And sometime soon, I know we’ll see Emily line up on the start of the iconic Bathurst 1000 race (a race I’ve promised to watch, for the first time ever, when she does!).

Emily shares her story with me on Sparta Chicks Radio this week.

Get the full show notes for the episode here.

Visit the Sparta Chicks Radio website here

Follow Sparta Chicks Radio on Facebook: facebook.com/SpartaChicks 

Follow Emily on Instagram: instagram.com/emilyduggan1

Apr 14, 2019

In November 2013, Renee Kiley joined friends to watch the Noosa Triathlon. And life hasn’t been the same since.

At the time Renee was an overweight, unhealthy, pack-a-day smoker.

Yet the race reignited Renee’s childhood love of competitive sport. And despite not having ridden a bike or swum laps since she was a kid, Renee set a goal to compete in the Noosa Triathlon the following year.

She did that, and more.

In March 2014, Renee lined up at the start of her very first triathlon; a Sprint distance triathlon.

And less than 3 1/2 years later, Renee raced for the first time as a professional triathlete. 

Many people involved in endurance sports have undergone dramatic transformations; from losing weight, quitting smoking and overcoming major health issues.

But I was curious how Renee was able to take her performance and achievements to the next level and became a professional athlete in a sport she didn’t know even existed only a few years ago.

So I asked :)

Get the full show notes for the episode here.

Visit the Sparta Chicks Radio website here 

Follow Sparta Chicks Radio on Facebook: facebook.com/SpartaChicks

Follow Renee on Instagram: instagram.com/reneekiley_/

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