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Elisabet Barnes - Queen of the Desert Ultra, 2x winner of Marathon des Sables (2015/2017)

Janey McGill - Explorer of people, places and thoughts. Crossing 800km across Oman’s Empty Quarter on foot #meetmeinthefield

Elisabet is a Swedish ultra running athlete, who is also a two time winner of the toughest footrace on the planet - the Marathon des Sables - which she won in 2015 and 2017.

We first spoke with Elisabet for the Tough Girl Podcast in 2015 when she shared more about her earlier life, working as a management consultant, how she got into running and what it was like winning her first big race.

A lot has changed in the 5 years since we last spoke; Elisabet has remarried, sold her old running business and is now living in Norway and studying sex & relationship therapy. While still coaching her running clients.

During this episode we find out what’s been going on! We talk about dealing with pressure, going through a divorce, meeting a new man, leaving the UK to move to Norway. Plus changing her diet to plant based, and why she is wanting to transition out of competitive running.

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Show Notes

  • Catching up with Elisabet

  • Who is Elisabet

  • Making a living from running since 2015

  • Working as a management consultant in London

  • Changing jobs in 2014 and starting to train more for running

  • The impact from winning the Marathon des Sables in 2015

  • Taking the risk and daring to jump!

  • Finally leaving the corporate world in 2016

  • Reflecting back on 2016

  • The new challenges she had to face

  • Dealing with the pressure to perform

  • Racing and winning races all over the world!

  • Separating from her husband and trying to sell the business

  • The start of 2017

  • Not wanting to let anyone down

  • Coming 4th in MDS in 2016 - being 2 mins off the podium

  • Getting super focused and removing distractions from her life

  • Winning the MDS in 2017

  • Focusing on what she can control

  • Putting in the work and feeling confident

  • Focusing on the mental side of training

  • “The Queen of the Desert Ultra” - Lesson in Badassery

  • Top tips for running in desert ultras

  • Being flexible and being able to cope with the unexpected

  • Walking and hiking during ultra races

  • Fast packing/hiking adventures in Nepal and Sweden

  • Doing the Everest Trail Race

  • Meeting her husband

  • Changing to a plant based diet

  • Moving over to Norway

  • Deciding to study - Sex, Health & Relationships!

  • Being your authentic self

  • Learning to be kinder to her body

  • Struggling to find the motivation to race

  • Taking the time to reflect during Covid

  • The second half of 2020

  • Final words of advice for making changes in your life


Social Media

Instagram @elisabetbarnes


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You can listen to our previous conversations with Elisabet below.

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