“I wasn’t active at all when I started my journey! Start by finding something that excites you, something you love”
Sophie Radcliffe is an endurance athlete, inspirational speaker, adventurer and blogger. She has cycled 300km from London to Paris in 24 hours on nine occasions, raced her bike coast to coast across America, completed 100km ultra-marathons, and is a two-time Ironman. At just 36 years old, she’s achieved so much. We find out what lessons she has learnt along the way.
How do different landscapes affect you emotionally and physically?
As a Londoner, the wilderness is an antidote to city life where it’s all go-go-go. My first ever adventure race was through the jungle of Borneo called the Kinabalu Challenge, and I’ve explored the Alpine coast across Italy, France and Monaco, covering 1700km on bike, 151km on foot and 45,500m uphill over 32 days. I love exploring and adventuring in remote places; standing on top of a mountain with 360-degree views, the wind blowing around me, the vast expanse of wilderness stretching out ahead of me. It opens my mind and feeds my soul. I feel alive, present and confident in myself and my place in the world.
How important is it to challenge ourselves?
I believe that on some level, we all want to be confident, courageous and resilient in who we are and how we live our lives. In a time of crisis, you discover more about your mindset, internal dialogue and beliefs. Once we develop these strengths, we can draw on them whenever we need to back ourselves if times are tough.
How does action and adventure provide meaning and wellbeing in your life?
Adventure was never part of my life growing up in London. I wasn’t sporty at school and I didn’t go camping or hiking with my family. It’s something I discovered in my early 20s in my first job out of university (in sales for a London start-up). I felt boxed in by the corporate life and was trying to figure out who I really was and what I was capable of achieving. I decided to get fit and set myself a challenge. I signed up for the Borneo adventure race and the experience changed the whole trajectory of my life! Eight years later I quit my job leaving behind a life of security and opened myself up to a life of adventure, purpose, passion and uncertainty. You can’t always plan the moments that will change you or your perspective, but for many people these moments happen through travel, adventure and challenge.
What can you recommend to people who aren’t so active by nature?
Don’t be afraid to try a few things out, even on your own. If you wait for someone to come with you, you may miss out. You could make new friends and find a community that supports your dreams and goals. You could have amazing adventures and discover new places, passions or talents. The world really is your oyster, but nothing’s going to make it happen unless you grab hold of the opportunities and run with them!
What is your greatest piece of advice for people? You’ve got one life, live it! Don’t waste your life letting your fears and limiting beliefs hold you back and stopping you from doing things you really want to do. There are no rules to this journey of life. You can do it anyway that feels right to you and you can tear up the rule book at any time. It’s never too early or too late to start over. Just start today.
How will you be embracing your new-found freedom after Covid?
TrailBlazers – my youth empowerment programme – has been on hold over Covid so I will be kickstarting that. It encourages teenage girls to build more confidence and courage through adventures. However, across everything I do, my mission is to champion ordinary people in achieving extraordinary things. My biggest passion is helping other people on their journey – through travel and adventure – to discover all the amazing potential that each of us have.
Find out more about Sophie at: www.challengesophie.com and on Instagram @challengesophie