Well howdy do. I’m Anna, a British born adventurer, motivational speaker and writer. I was recently named by Condé Nast Traveller as one of the 50 most influential travellers of our time, and by the the Guardian as one of the top modern female adventurers . I’m also now enjoying pride of place as one of The Discovery Channel’s ‘Make Your World Bigger’ Champions. Over there is my face. It’s not much but I’ve had it a while and I’m rather attached to it.
Back in the day, when penny sweets were a penny, I represented Great Britain at rowing. But after ‘retiring’ in my mid twenties, I began darting around the world on the hunt for new and exciting endurance challenges.
The daughter of two Olympians, I was fortunate enough to grow up in a family passionate about sport and the great outdoors. I’m now on a mission to give a little of that back. To help children gain access to the same sporting opportunities that I had as a youngster, and to use adventure as a platform to inspire and enable kids to get outside, and get exploring. It’s a mission at the heart of everything I do, and you can read more about it here.
I am also a brain-junkie. Through a degree in psychology and a career as an elite athlete, I’ve learnt a great deal about the powerful and delicate relationship between mind and body. It’s relationship which I love to explore, test and share at every opportunity. And share it I do, warts n’ all.
In 2013 I wheeled my way, solo and unassisted, 11,000 miles through each and every state of the USA. I visited schools along the route and raised £11,000 for Global Charity Right To Play. You can read all about the saddle-based shenanigans here.
For 2015 I switched to a simpler mode of transport and spent 5 and 1/2 months running 1,911 miles along New Zealand’s Te Araroa trail. Unsupported and with all my worldly possessions in a 14kg backpack, I visited local schools en route and raised £7,000 for The Outward Bound Trust – to give kids in the UK and NZ a shot at adventures of their very own. It was quite the journey, and you can read all about it here.
It’s now 2017 (where did the time go?!) and you’ll currently find me pedalling through the Andes mountains, on a mission to ascend over 80,000 metres, more than 7 times the height of Everest, on a bicycle. You can see exactly where I am right this very second, with the live tracker here or catch up on tales of South American adventure here.
Much closer to home, I have also:
- Spent a month cycling across Europe, directed entirely by social media
- Attempted to Rollerblade 100 miles around Amsterdam
- Run the length of Hadrian’s wall dressed as a Roman Soldier
- Run the length of the Jurassic Coast, dressed as a dinosaur
- Spent 25 consecutive weeks sleeping wild on hilltops around London
- Explored Wales on a Giant Scooter
If you’d like to have me come and tell you some tales from these adventures in person – take a sneaky peek at my speaking page here.
A LITTLE BIT O’ HISTORY
Yikes. I’m not a fan of trumpet blowing, but seeing as you don’t know me from Adam, here’s a few things you might like to know about the early days. I may quiz you on this if we ever meet. Just kidding. But, seriously – pay attention.
- I started playing football aged 6 in the boys league, and wound up playing for Wimbledon Ladies FC
- Thanks to 11 hours on a course in Regensburg in 2011, I am an Ironman.
- I’ve run 64km over, and swam 10km between 20 Swedish Islands as part of the legendary OTillO.
- I used to have large biceps. I won a Gold medal in rowing at the World University Games in 2006, and a Bronze Medal at the European Championships in 2007.
- I have enjoyed the delights of sleep deprivation at the Adidas 24 hour trail Run
- I left 8 of my toenails on the Race to the Stones course, during a 100km trail run in 2014.
- I am a water baby. I’ve swum my way down The Dalmation coast, Croatia (36km), through the Greek Cyclades (38km) and around The British Virgin Islands (40km).
Jeepers. I’m putting my trumpet down now.
Video of the 2007 European Rowing Championships, featuring yours truly and my very serious ‘race face’: