Stories From the Trail: Tough Girl Challenges with Sarah Williams

File this one under “Inspirational”! Sarah Williams is not only a veteran outdoor adventurer and world traveler, she has spent the past few years curating HUNDREDS of hours of conversation with other inspiring women from around the world on her amazing podcast, Tough Girl Challenges. Stories From the Trail was lucky enough to spend some time with her recently on our Weekly Discord Hangout. If you missed that, you can hear our talk with Sarah wherever you get great podcasts, or right here!


From Sarah’s Bio:

“I set up Tough Girl Challenges in 2014 as a way of motivating and inspiring women and girls.

I host the Tough Girl Podcast where I interview inspirational female explorers, adventurers, athletes and everyday women who have overcome great challenges. The podcast is listened to in 174 countries around the world and has passed 850,000 downloads. The podcast is in the top 15% of podcasts globally and has a unique focus on women who do adventures and undertake big physical challenges. 

I completed the Marathon des Sables in April 2016 (6 marathons in 6 days across the Sahara Desert), in 2017 I thru hiked the Appalachian Trail solo and unsupported (2,190 miles) in 100 days (which I also daily vlogged)! In 2018 I cycled over 4,000 km from Vancouver, Canada via the Pacific Coast Highway to Cabo San Lucas in Mexico. 

I have a Masters in Women & Gender Studies (2018), with my dissertation focusing on women, adventure and fear. I am also a qualified Yoga Instructor & Personal Trainer (2019). I am now based back in the UK and am looking for my next challenge and adventure!​”

Awards & Nominations

Sarah was recognised by the Guardian as one of the 10 most inspiring contemporary female adventurers to follow, and Red Bull named her as one of the adventurers to follow on Instagram in 2018. The Tough Girl Blog was high commended in the UK Blog Awards in 2016 & was a finalist in 2017. In 2018 the Tough Girl Podcast won the Women’s Sports Trust#BeAGameChanger Media Initiative of the Year Award. 


Sarah Williams: Tough Girl

Sarah Williams: Tough Girl

In this episode we discuss

* Does Sarah have a trail name and where did it come from?
* Sports, she was active in lacrosse, hockey and rounders
* Duke of Edinburgh award
* After college, sara took on a high pressure job in the financial field, kep crazy hours, stopped sports.
* She was getting ten minutes of fresh air a day, when at the age of 32 she first asked herself “what should I really do with my life?”
* She traveled for 18 months, mostly in South America
* Machu Picchu, Bolivian Salt Flats, cycled Death Road, Climbed in Chile, Kilimanjaro
* This inspired the birth of “Tough Girl Challenges”
* Why backpacking is better than sitting on a beach somewhere
* What it’s like succeeding in primarily male-dominated environments and how that influenced her
* Female specific safety tips you wouldn’t have thought of
* The power of podcasting and the challenges of starting one
* Sarah describes getting through a hard time: the Marathon de Sables  – six Marathons in six days, in desert, carrying all your stuff – 52 miles in one day, getting into that headspace that thru hikers recognize, living from one step to the next, and how gratitude helps combined with Training
* The power of gratitude
* Being able to look back on a “worst day” is valuable, so go make ’em. 🙂
* How to get out of the cycle of beating oneself up for “failure” or difficulty
* Completing the AT in 100 days
* How to “take the first step” and then build and keep momentum
* Her guests are female adventurers of all ages, all levels of education, all kinds of jobs and backgrounds
* Chrissie Wellington, 4 time Ironman Champion
* Cheryl Strayed for Episode 100
* Roz Savage, first woman to row solo across 3 oceans
* What it’s like to not succeed, and why that’s okay
* How she went from being someone no one’s ever heard of to sending heart emojis back and forth with Cheryl Strayed
* What advice does Sarah have for women who are about to get started in outdoor adventuring?

Links mentioned in this episode

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Comments 1

  • Paul Maguire : Aug 1st

    I love you! Am an active, retired prof. at U. of Alaska. Active advocate for people w/disabilities. Now riding a fat tire trike!!! Stay with me when in Alaska. Paul


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