I’ve run marathons in London and Mallorca and been frantically searching the internet for other interesting places to run one. Paris, New York, Boston…..my list is endless. I was really excited to meet Shona Thomson who’s taken this desire to another level. She’s one of 3 British women to run a marathon on all of the world’s seven continents and then she added one at the North Pole for good measure! I’m intrigued by (and slightly jealous of) strong women with the guts to take on challenges like these. I was also interested to find out why and how she left her job as a city banker to follow her running dreams and use her time to help and inspire others to become and stay active. Speaker, trainer, mentor and adventurer; a woman after my own heart and it was a pleasure to chat to her.
It must have been a hard decision to leave your city job. What finally made you realise it was the right thing to do?
It was a case of a few things coming together at the same time. It had been a tough year at work and I had completed the seven continents challenge in the same year so I was really needing some time out. I also met so many inspiring people on my travels that it made me reassess some of my values.
What has been your toughest race; the one you really wondered if you could finish?
I guess I was most apprehensive about Comrades. It wasn’t the distance, the hills or the heat that I feared but the brutal time cut offs. I knew I could do it but I just didn’t know if I would do it in the time limits. Thankfully, my race strategy went according to plan and I made it comfortably round the 90k route in 11 hours.
Do you have any mind tricks or mantras that you use when the going gets tough?
Lots of runners are embarking on their first marathons this Spring, what one piece of advice would you give them?
Run your own race and don’t compare yourself to anyone else. Everyone on the start line has a different journey there so there is little point worrying about what anyone else is doing other than yourself.
You’re a real ambassador for women in sport. What do you think are the biggest barriers to getting more women exercising regularly?
I’d say a huge amount has to do with self confidence. I’m very anti a lot of the images that the fitness industry promotes. Most fitness models don’t look like they do on covers most of the time. I really like the This Girl Can campaign which focuses on loving your body for what it can do, not what it can’t.
What projects are you working on at the moment?
I’m mentoring several girls through their first marathons. I’m helping them with all aspects from bespoke training plans, to nutrition, to mental strength and anything else they need help with. It’s really rewarding. I’m also doing talks and working with several charities.
Do you have any unfulfilled ambitions?