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Mari Funabashi – Film Composer, Endurance Cyclist, and Triathlete

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.

Born in Phoenix, Arizona and raised by immigrant parents from China and Japan, Mari has always been drawn to stories that celebrate and examine identity, multiculturalism, and diversity.

After completing her Masters at the Royal College of Music in 2019, Funabashi continued to work in London, working closely with production houses Far Away Films and 84 East.

Since then she has composed for many award-winning films, particularly enjoying providing thoughtful and nuanced underscores for films that center around the human condition, although she would never say no to bombastic superhero themes with french horn solos.

Curious and creative by nature, Funabashi often mixes sound design with her musical underscores in order to create truly unique pieces of work that are inseparable from the films they were created for.

Beyond music, Mari is a dedicated outdoors enthusiast, and can be found participating in ultra-endurance cycling trips as well as competing in triathlons. Having found outdoor movement after the difficult passing of her father in 2015, introverted Mari finds the long and solo hours of ultra-endurance sports comforting—a quiet and safe space to check-in with herself.

Her most recent events include a solo bike packing trip from London to Scotland in 2020 (430 miles), the half-ironman distance Castle to Coast Triathlon in 2021 (totalling 81.2 miles) and her 24-hour Manchester to London attempt in 2022 (she made it to 177 miles).


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Show notes

  • Who is Mari?

  • Growing up in Arizona in the USA

  • Working as a film composer

  • Living in the South of England, for the past 6 years

  • Getting into the outdoors in 2016 after the death of her father

  • Her childhood was very focused on music

  • Learning music and playing; piano, guitar, pipe organ, flute, french horn and clarinet

  • Feeling lucky to have connected with the outdoors when she was older

  • Living in New York City as an introverted person

  • Starting to go on long walks which turned into running

  • Wanting to physically move her body forward

  • Starting to run with friends and finding it enjoyable

  • Finding triathlon and signing up to race in 2016

  • Preferring the longer distances

  • Moving to the UK in 2017

  • Use a bike to commute on

  • Getting into ultra distance cycling during covid

  • Using running to process thoughts

  • Feeling calm while moving her body and being able to connect with herself on a deep level

  • Starting to do a few solo bike-packing trips

  • Not thinking about distance, but rather time on the time

  • Deciding to cycle from London to Scotland

  • Using Strava to plan the route

  • Having trust in herself to take on this challenge

  • How the challenge helped to boost her confidence

  • “I could probably do it and if I can’t that’s fine, I’ll figure it out someway or another”

  • 24hr Manchester to London attempt in 2022

  • Making it to 177 miles

  • The lessons learned from the experience and trying again

  • Wanting to break the 200 mile mark

  • Working on a film called - Beyond Words

  • Working with Play Outdoors Productions - Diversity-focused film collective

  • Combining art music and the outdoors

  • Composing music while outdoors

  • The goal with creating the film

  • Running a crowd funder and raising the £3K needed to cover the film costs

  • How to connect with Mari

  • Final words of advice for women who want to get into bike packing

  • Struggling to get back on the bike after going through a breakup

  • Women supporting women

  • Being supposed and encouraged by women only Facebook Groups


Social Media

Instagram: @marifunabashi


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