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Mimi's Story - "I'm a grandmother and multiple world record holder"
May 5, 2023

Mimi's Story - "I'm a grandmother and multiple world record holder"

I love proving people wrong. I’ve learnt in my life that making arbitrary judgements about a person just leaves the door open for them to surprise you - they very well might do something extraordinary.

It all started with a step.  

I was 36, and I had no idea what I was supposed to be doing - I just looked at the treadmill in front of me, and just started putting one foot in front of the other. I’d taken a few classes at the gym, but it was time to try something new. 

I met some ladies at the gym, and they tempted me outdoors - and with the cool air in my face, it was like something just clicked. I felt like I was flying… I’ve always been someone who thrives on setting myself goals, so first it was a mile, then it was three, then five… we finished up our run at 10 miles . 

It didn’t matter that I could hardly walk the next day. I was absolutely hooked. 

I’ve always liked to challenge myself, so I started training for my first half marathon… I just couldn’t get enough of the freedom I felt as I ran.

Then one day a friend passed me a magazine tapping on a photograph of people running across sand - I remember their funny sun hats, and the article talking about their blistered feet. The Marathon Des Sable, a 250km race over 6 days in the Sahara desert. The whole idea felt so far away from my life as a stay-at-home mum-of-three. I’d been running for just over a year, and this was described as the ‘Toughest Foot Race On Earth’ - I signed myself up!

People have asked me for years when I’m going to stop - when I first started people questioned how I could leave my kids at home, but I’d reply that I’d had a very supportive family, and what was wrong with wanting to do something for myself?  And now people assume that I’ll start to slow down because of my age - I turned 60 last year - but I am far from being written off. I just can't imagine doing nothing. 

I remember arriving for the 6633 Extreme Ultra Marathon (a 352 mile race across the Arctic in temperatures as low as minus 40) and people being overly polite about my usual preference of pink race gear… I think they were a bit stunned when I not only completed the race, but won it!  And to my knowledge my race record still stands. 

I’ve broken world records and have raced across almost every continent. Then in 2017 I took on the epic challenge to run across America - but after 2,215.24miles in just 40days I suffered an injury that stopped not only that race attempt, but also my running career.  To have something I so deeply loved taken away in a moment was awful. It was a dark time as I had to grieve a part of myself that was gone.

But it’s always been in me to keep looking to test myself to see what I could do… so to celebrate the 10th anniversary of my first world record, I signed up for the Lands End to John O’Groats cycle ride… and at the time I didn’t even own a bike!  Next I conquered my fear of swimming in order to try my hand at triathlons.

People often ask me why I do it. My answer is simple - because I can.