Multi World Record Holder, talks a lot, loves to laugh, enjoys meeting people and has a passion for running oh and enjoying the odd (ha ha) glass or two of wine!
The only way of finding the limits of the possible is by going beyond them into the impossible.
When Mimi started jogging as an unfit mother she never imagined she would become a World Record-breaking ultrarunner who explored the most remote places on earth.
“For 15 years I battled with Anorexia, a horrible sometimes fatal illness that takes over your life. You think about it from the moment you wake in the morning to the moment you fall asleep – an awful way to live.
Thankfully for me, with a huge amount of support from family and friends and a lot of hard work battling my demons I came out the other side. My life is now completely different and I relish every moment I have with my wonderful family. “
Now Mimi helps others to tackle their challenges.
Mimi excels in extreme circumstances, whether it’s hot or cold:
“My story really starts back in 2001 with the Marathon des Sables – an iconic 150-mile multi-day self-sufficiency staged race in the Sahara where I raced as part of a team of 3. One of my running partners suggested we enter and it was a terrifying prospect. At that stage, the furthest I had run was 13 miles; but I couldn’t think of a single reason not to do it, so we entered and it turned out to be an incredible adventure.
Despite being desperately ill during the race, I refused to give in, I had to show everyone I could do it. As a team we finished in style changing into purple sequinned mini dresses we had carried with us the entire time! Completing the MdS made me realize what I was capable of and it gave me a taste for what was possible. And so it began.
In 2007 I took part in a 352 mile non-stop self-sufficiency 6633 Ultra race in the Arctic. It’s the only event of its kind where the race goes through the Arctic Circle and takes competitors along the 120 miles of the Frozen Mackenzie River. The temperature at one point plummeted to a staggering minus 75 and the winds were blowing both me and my sled all over the place. 90% of the race was spent on my own, but I never felt scared, I remember feeling totally at peace with myself and my surroundings. I won the race outright, finishing 24 hours before the next person setting a course record that is yet to be broken.
I didn’t think anything could get tougher than the Arctic race but in 2008 embarked on a challenge that I consider being the toughest run I have done to date. I ran from John O’Groats to Lands End (JOGLE), a distance of 840 miles which I completed in a time of 12 days, 15 hours & 46 minutes
Towards the end my body was swollen up to above my waist, my feet were 2.5 sizes larger than they had been at the start and the tops of my hands looked as though they had tennis balls under the skin. Every step I took was agony and I would find any excuse to stop in order to give myself 30 seconds with no pain. With only 2 miles to go and the finish in sight I stopped and told my husband who was with me that I couldn’t take another step – I had reached my limits but from the depths of my body I found strength I didn’t even know I had and crossed the line to become the new Female Guinness World Record Holder.
My adventures continued and in 2011 I became the fastest female to complete the epic Double Badwater in the USA (292 miles) in one of the hottest places in the World, the temperatures are so hot that the surface of the road can melt trainers and we could fry and egg on the bonnet of our car – it was like running in an oven but with the support of an amazing crew I took over 21 hours off the previous record by crossing of the 292 miles in Death Valley in 108 hrs 10 mins 24 seconds.
A few months later I placed 3rd Lady in the Spartathlon, the infamous 153-mile non-stop race from Athens to Sparta in Greece in under 36 hrs.
Having completed Double Badwater my thoughts turned to finding a challenge for 2012. Having already broken the JOGLE World Record I decided to attempt to break the Guinness World Record running the length of Ireland – (M2M – Malin Head to Mizen Head) a distance of 345miles.
Going into the M2M I felt stronger than I had ever felt before not just physically but mentally as well but knew it was going to be a tough record to break. Running an average of 100 miles a day took over 10hrs off the previous World Record in a time of 3 days 15 hours and 36 minutes and the Overall World Record Holder. I became the first person to hold both End to End records simultaneously (JOGLE & M2M).”
“In 2012 I took part in a terrifying race in the Peruvian Jungle. One of my fears is being out of my depth in fast flowing water and the race included many river crossings. I had to step out of my comfort zone and tackle my fears head-on. When you overcome your fears – whatever they might be – you build your confidence and self-esteem and know that you can overcome anything that life throws at you.”
“Over time, running has given me back my life. It has put a spring back in my step, given me back my confidence that somewhere along the way I lost. My self-esteem and pride in my achievements continue to grow. It has allowed me to become a better mother, wife, friend and person. I now see food in a completely different way, I’m not frightened of it anymore but see it as my fuel to enable me to continue with the sport I love,” Mimi says.
“I strive to inspire others to overcome their fears and enjoy the sense of achievement and accomplishment that running and adventure provides. I was therefore delighted and honoured to win “Female Performance of the year” in 2012 and the “Physical Endeavour Award” in 2013.
After two years of planning in September 2014, Samantha Gash and Mimi set off on a challenge to run across South Africa along the Freedom Trail over 32 days.
“We averaged 61km per day starting in Pietermaritzburg, traversing the high mountains of Lesotho, to the wide open spaces of the Karoo, crossing six mountain ranges, criss-crossing countless valleys, venturing through unspoilt wilderness areas, national parks, private farms and some nature reserves finishing just outside Paarl near Cape Town – a distance of 1,968km.
Freedom Runners (the name of the project) certainly wasn’t my toughest challenge but it was for me the most rewarding. Not only did I get to run across a country I love, we also raised over £26,000 on behalf of Save the Children to set up a initiative in South Africa. The project was launched in March 2015 to support young women in a rural area of KwaZulu-Natal; providing the girls with better access to feminine hygiene products, enabling them to remain in education. The programme is holistic and also includes educational awareness on the importance of schooling, health and hygiene.
In her book Beyond Impossible: From Reluctant Runner to Guinness World Record Breaker. Mimi describes how she learned about the importance of having a healthy relationship with food to fuel our running and life.
This incredible story of how an ordinary mum ran her way into the record books will inspire beginner runners and die-hard marathon devotees alike, proving that, no matter where life takes you, it’s never too late to achieve your dreams and do the impossible.
After having to give up her run across USA in 2017 and running long distances in general, she’s found a new way to challenge herself and go beyond impossible with cycling adventures and triathlons!