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Dr. Sarah McCormack - Mountain runner and UK Athletics-Certified Trail & Fell Running Coach.

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.

In 2019 Sarah was crowned World Cup champion by the World Mountain Running Association.

After a series of seven races throughout the season, including a win in Wales, Sarah secured victory with a second place in Slovenia, the final race in the series.

Sarah is a Cumbrian-based athlete, a brand ambassador for Inov-8 – who sponsor the Lakeland Trails series – an Irish international mountain runner (representing her country no less than 25 times!), a qualified ecologist and a professional running coach.

She lives with her partner – and fellow Inov-8 brand ambassador – Paul Tierney and their two border collies, Quilla and Lupo, in a shepherd’s hut in Windermere.

“You can’t have a good race every time, but you can gain something from each and every run. If you have a bad race, find one or two positives to take away from it, even if it’s just something you now know you’d do differently, and then start looking ahead to the next one.”


  • UK Athletics-Certified Trail & Fell Running Coach

  • PhD Biogeochemistry, MPhil Chemistry BSc (Hons) Biochemistry

  • Mountain Running World Cup Winner 2019

  • Italian Mountain Running & Vertical Kilometre Champion 2020

  • Top ten - World/European Mountain Running Championships - 2012, 2013, 2015, 2018

  • Winner, Snowdon International Mountain Race 2014, 2015, 2019

  • European Cross Country Championships Team Gold 2012

  • Irish Cross-Country Champion 2014

  • 5k PB 15:46 / 10k PB 33:33

Listen to Sarah now!

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

The Tough Girl Podcast is being sponsored throughout March by Inov-8.

Get your exclusive 15% discount code for by signing up HERE


Listen to Sarah Now!

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Show notes

  • Being based out of the Lake District usually

  • Woking as a running coach

  • Living in a camper van in Spain

  • Welcoming the sunshine

  • Doing van life for the past 5 years

  • Heading to the Alps and Ireland

  • Growing up and her early years

  • Racing short races from 6 years old

  • Moving to America and having the American high school experience

  • Moving back to the UK at 21

  • Being on the girls track team

  • Going to college/university to study biochemistry and joining the running team in her final year of Michigan State University

  • Training with the university team and learning how to become a better runner

  • Her ambitions with running

  • What happened after leaving university

  • Not seeing a future in running and focusing on getting a job in the UK

  • Doing a Masters at Sheffield University, UK

  • Winning her first race in 5 years

  • Key races and her love of the Italian mountain races

  • How running makes her feel

  • Loving the simplicity of running

  • Getting into cycling

  • What is mountain running and how it’s different from ultra running

  • Climbing at a 30% gradient

  • Running uphill? Running or power walking?

  • Why walking is encouraged

  • Not fully trusting her ankles

  • Magical moments in races that really stands out

  • Training and working with a running coach - Robbie Simpson

  • Example of a training session for the Yorkshire 3 Peaks Race

  • Dealing with injury

  • Rest and recovery

  • Mental side of running and Sarah’s top tips and advice

  • Writing down goals….

  • The Dream Race — Jungfrau Marathon 2022

  • Taking the van to Switzerland

  • Having 3 passports!

  • The early start of van life and how it progressed

  • A day in the life of Sarah

  • Nutrition and fueling being a vegetarian and focusing on protein at every meal

  • Working with a running coach

  • Being supported by Inov-8 and working as an ambassador

  • Connect with Sarah online

  • Final words of advice and wisdom for women who want to get into running

  • How having the right gear can help with confidence in the mountains


Social Media

Instagram: @missinglinkcoach


The Tough Girl Podcast is being sponsored by Inov-8 throughout March.

Get your exclusive 15% discount code for by signing up HERE


Instagram: @inov_8


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