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Transcript of the Tough Girl Podcast with Sally Kettle - World Record Two-Time Atlantic Ocean Rower

Sarah: The Tough Girl Podcast is all about motivating and inspiring you.

Hello and welcome to the Tough Girl Podcast. I'm delighted to be here with Sally Kettle.

Sally, hello and welcome to the show.

Sally Kettle: Hello, how are you doing?

Sarah: I'm very well thank you.

Sally, you’ve done some incredible feats. You're known as a professional adventurer, author, motivational speaker, and you've also got a Guinness World Record.

Let's just take you back right to the beginning. How did all the adventuring really start?

Is it something that you've always wanted to do from a young age, or is just something that sort of developed throughout the years?

Sally Kettle: No, you know what, it wasn’t something I wanted to do from a young age. I just wanted to have an interesting life. I had a weird sense of my own mortality when I was a kid. I don't know why that is in particular, but I knew from an early age that actually this is it, you don't get more from this and that you've got to really make the most of it.

I was really keen to have a life that was filled with exploration and experiences and to really grab it by the proverbial rather than just go into a regular job and sort through that and come out at the other end and go, “Oh, is that it?”

I was pushing myself when I was younger to think about something really exciting, and then the ocean rowing came up as an idea. I thought, “Wow, you know what, I've never done this before, let's give it a go,” and then it all exploded from there.

Sarah: The ocean row, is that the first of a big challenge that you actually took?

Sally Kettle: No, funny enough it wasn’t.

From the outside looking it, it probably was, but for me the stuff with the London Marathon was my biggest challenge to start with because I've never really run before.

I remember being very quite sporty, but enthusiastic at sport at school but actually never really good at it. I was always the first to fall over because I was so excited about getting stuck into the netball match or whatever that I’d trip over myself with excitement there’d be blood leaking down onto my white socks. I left school and I think as most young women tend to do is they kind of drop out of doing any sort of sports participation.

Then you get into your 20s and you try to feel in a bit blobby and you think what am I going to do about this, and then you get stuck into your first mini-challenge. For me that was the London Marathon.

I remember when I first started training I couldn’t even run down the street literally to run down the street without feeling painful and horrible. At the time I kind of got myself to start the race and that for me was a massive achievement from both my self –confidence and for my physical fitness too.

Anybody who has trained for a marathon knows how mentally difficult it is. It is really tough going. Just doing that really helped when me when it came to preparations for an ocean row.

Sarah: I think you’ve actually hit the nail on the head because a lot of the schools where I go to, a lot the girls don't want to play sports, they don't want to get involved and they do end up dropping out.

They miss out on all of this, the teamwork and the fun that comes from being involved in team sports. I've run the London Marathon myself so I know how hard the training can actually be, and the mental challenge it actually places on you.

You’ve run the marathon, you obviously got the massive high from completing that challenge. How did that translate to rowing across the ocean because that's quite a big jump from running to rowing?

Sally Kettle: Yeah, it was a massive jump. I had a boyfriend that was home and I think when you're done, it's kind of massive. I think it is massive as running a marathon.

You still think what's my next challenge and it feels like a demand for you to continue challenging yourself so that you don't drop into a lack of activity all over again.

I suggested to him that we did....from the bike and that would take two weeks, it would be great the two of us. He said, “No, I couldn’t go,” because he was planning to go with a friend of his and it was boys only.