top of page

Steph Cooke - A mature plodder's forays in trekking and ultra racing. Marathon des Sables

Renata Chlumska  - Adventure athlete who became the first Swedish and Czech woman to climb Mount Everest and in 2005 did a circumnavigate of the lower 48 States of the United States by her own power.

Steph in her own words:

“Being a very shy and uncoordinated child I used to avoid anything active until a family holiday to the Lake District ignited a passion for walking and the outdoors.

I love to get outside and active and to push my body to see just what it’s capable of.

The excitement of tackling a long-distance trail appeals to me, but I also enjoy discovering the adventure my local area has to offer. I find joy in immersing myself in nature- wherever you are you can find great beauty.

Middle age is a time when people tend to slow down and stop being active. I want to inspire other people in their 40s, 50s, 60s and beyond that you are still capable of doing some pretty amazing things and that it’s never too late for adventure.”

New episodes of the Tough Girl Podcast go live every Tuesday at 7am UK time - Hit the subscribe button so you don’t miss out.

The Tough Girl Podcast is sponsorship and ad free thanks to the monthly financial support of patrons.

Support the mission to increase the amount of female role models in the media. Visit and subscribe - super quick and easy to do and it makes a massive difference. Thank you.


Listen to Steph Now!

Click here if you can't see the link below.


Show notes

  • Turning 50 and being passionate about getting outdoors

  • Wanting to do more and more

  • Being very shy and uncoordinated while growing up

  • Doing everything to avoid physical activity

  • Being inspired by spending time walking in the Lake District

  • Progressing her walking and joining the Long Distance Walkers Association (LDWA)

  • Getting involved in Challenge Walks with the LDWA

  • Deciding what challenges to do next

  • Doing the coast to coast walk

  • Feeling scared at the start

  • How her confidence grew through experience

  • Walking with a friend on the Isle of Man

  • Walking the Pennine Way and why it was challenging due to lockdowns and covid

  • Dealing with the British Weather….

  • Planning and preparation for walks

  • The importance of long training walks

  • Equipment and gear on a budget

  • Ways to keep the costs down as a single traveller

  • Doing her first overnight camping trip

  • A Pennine Journey (247 miles)

  • The plan…

  • Food and nutrition while on the challenge

  • Training and getting physically ready

  • Wanting to share her stories with others

  • Signing up for the Marathon des Sables (MDS) to document the training of the journey

  • Start small and build up

  • Running the London Marathon

  • Building up fitness and training for the MDS

  • Preparing the mind and getting mentally ready for the challenge

  • Running the wettest MDS ever!

  • Lessons learned from finishing the MDS

  • Dealing with stomach issues

  • Craving coffee

  • Follow along with Steph on social media

Part 2

  • A Pennie Journey

  • The route

  • Why things didn’t quite go to plan

  • Dealing with blisters and the Summer heat wave

  • Building her confidence with camping and using her tent

  • The magical moments from the experience

  • Getting resupply on the route

  • Going solo and meeting other walkers

  • Making a few changes to stay out on the trail for 17 days

  • Dealing with blisters and pain

  • Feeling a little disappointed at the end

  • Final words of advice

  • Starting small and building up

  • Going on local adventures


Social Media


Feeling inspired week after week?

You can do 3 easy things to help me continue to grow the podcast!

  1. Subscribe to the podcast in iTunes, so you won’t miss a single episode

  2. If you’re loving the podcast, please leave a 5-star review on iTunes! I read every single comment!

  3. Share the podcast with your friends, especially if you think it could help them, and spread the #ToughGirlPodcast love.

Your support helps me continue to grow the podcast and do inspiring things in this space! Already done all 3? You’re a rockstar! Thank you!

Want to do more?

Please become a Patron and donate US$5 a month to help fund the runnings costs. Thank you.

Become my Patron


bottom of page