On December 27, 2013, Maria Leijerstam became the first person in the world to cycle from the edge of the Antarctic continent to the South Pole. She also set the new World Record for the fastest human powered coast to pole traverse, completing her journey in 10 days, 14hrs and 56 minutes.
Leijerstam has always been a traveller, albeit a non-traditional one. Her trips are usually built around multisport adventure races involving cycling, running and kayaking, or other slightly longer endurance tests, such as the Marathon des Sables, where she completed six marathons in seven days in the Sahara Desert, or cycling more than 600km across Siberia’s frozen Lake Baikal.
During the podcast we learn more about Maria, the challenges she has faced along the way, what she's learned and why she puts her body through this.
"I’m not adverse to risk at all, and I get excited by new tough challenges."
Why she doesn’t call herself an explorer
Growing up and wanting to be an astronaut
Getting into more extreme adventures
Always living in a mans world
Joining the Officer Training Corps
Learning how to look after herself
How she started her journey into adventure
Doing the Marathon des Sables!
The lead up to the race, dealing with nerves and preparing her body for the heat
Knowing how your body responds during a challenge
Learning how to manage pain
Why you put your body through the extreme challenges?
Being the 200th person to ever reach the South Pole
Doing an adventure race & what she loves about it
The last wild race in Patagonia
Handling team dynamics during adventure races
When races fall apart…
Dealing with discomfort and managing your pain
4 years preparation to get to the South Pole
Testing out equipment and figuring out what was going to work
£100,000 needed to do the expedition and how she paid for it
Dealing with rejection
Getting onto the ice and the relief she felt
What she leant from the experience of planning and doing the polar expedition
Coming home and returning to Wales
Future goals and plans
Being a mother of 2 and how she fits fitness into her life
Learn more about Maria