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Shu Pillinger - 1st British woman to complete RAAM Solo in 2015 after broken clavicle in 2014.

Shusanah Pillinger, extreme athlete, became the first British woman to complete the “world’s toughest cycle race” in 2015. She finished the 3004 mile non-stop solo Race Across America (RAAM) in 12 days, 9 hours and 14 minutes after pedalling from the West coast to the East coast on just 2 hours sleep a day.

Shusanah (or Shu) grew up on the Hertfordshire / Cambridgeshire border and has lived in St Albans since 2009. Whilst working in London, she discovered triathlon and soon found that she enjoyed the bike leg of the event the most. Moving out of London encouraged her to start cycling longer distances instead of getting the train to work, a commute she still does by bike. She has cycled from London to Paris, John O’Groats to Land’s End, London to Edinburgh and back to London amongst other rides.

Winning a 24 hour continuous cycling time trial in 2012 qualified her to take part in RAAM. In 2013 she became the National Ladies Ultra-triathlon Champion, competing over a double Ironman distance (4.8 mile swim, 232 mile bike and 52.4 mile run one straight after the next).

Hear all about it on the the Tough Girl Podcast!


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Show notes

  • Growing up on a farm and not being sporty or outdoorsy, but getting use to cycling as she had to cycle everywhere

  • Taking up football when she went to university

  • Moving to London and trying to fit in health and fitness at the same time

  • Jumping straight into triathlon from football

  • Liking to challenge herself

  • What she liked about triathlon

  • The Double Ironman! With ENDUROMAN

  • Times for Ironman

  • Becoming the Ladies’ British National Champion in 2013

  • Dealing with sleep deprivation

  • The finish of Enduroman and why it’s special

  • The 24 hour time trail and not realising the significance of the event

  • Why she would never do it again

  • Qualifying for RAAM - Race Across America

  • Why her strength is endurance and not speed

  • Her mental strength to just keep on going

  • Growing up knowing there was nothing she couldn’t do and why she doesn’t believe in “can’t”

  • Being inspired by her dad

  • Still dealing with doubts

  • RAAM - 2014 - time trail - Racing from the West coast to the East coast of America

  • The worlds toughest supported cycle race

  • 3,000 miles in 12 days and 21 hours for women - 232 mile a day for women

  • Preparing herself for RAAM and why only 5% of the race is to do with cycling

  • Sleeping less than 2 hours a day for 12 days

  • Falling asleep on her bike, coming off her bike and breaking her collar bone

  • What she learned from the 2014 race and how she applied it to her 2015 race

  • Preparing for the trans continental race in Europe for 2017

  • Being able to emotionally detach while cycling

  • Listening to music, podcasts and listening to audio books (The Millennium Trilogy)

  • Being inspired by stories from climbing mountains

  • Swimming from the UK to the US!! (The 3k Virgin Island swim)

  • Loving running when she should be cycling

  • Running in Cyprus and why she loves trail running

  • Liking sleep and going for 8 hours a night

  • Feeling drained, which she think is linked to her diet

  • Making the change from vegetarian to vegan

  • Her final words of advice and why you should go an crew for someone doing a challenge

  • Being Crew Chief for Jasminjn Muller LEJOG attempt

  • How she met Jasmijn!


Social Media

Twitter - @shupillinger


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