Meet the remarkable woman who ran 10,000km – all in the name of wildlife.
What’s your book about?
My husband, David, and I both love running and wildlife. In July 2012, we set off from the southern-most tip of South America to run the length of the continent. It took us 15 months to complete. We ran marathons back to back for days on end and lived life at its rawest, camping wild and washing in ditches. The book charts our adventure.
What made you take it on?
It was all for wildlife. We wanted to inspire, to prove that we can tackle seemingly insurmountable challenges: it’s not too late to protect our last unspoilt ecosystems. We raised money for BirdLife, Asociación Armonía and Conservación Patagónica.
What surveying did you manage on your journey?
We did a bird point-count (a tally of birds heard and seen from a specific location) each morning in the south, and a species count each day. We recorded 453 species and 6,154 individual birds, many of which are endangered, and submitted our records to universities and to eBird (an online checklist).
What were your most memorable encounters?
Eyeballing a giant anteater sucking up termites and a huge yellow ratsnake devouring a mouse a few centimetres from our heads.
How did wildlife spur you?
Wildlife was our motivation. We were often hungry, exhausted and consequently bad-tempered, but when an armadillo scuttled across our tracks or a giant stick-insect somersaulted into view any disputes would dissolve.
How did you share the conservation message?
We spoke to 2,000 students and groups in universities and schools (some of which had never had visitors from their own country, let alone from two muddy gringos!). We also wrote articles and set up an online classroom.
Which landscape was most challenging?
Argentinian Patagonia. Hurricane-force winds sweeping off the Andes were excruciating to run against.
How do you feel you’ve made a difference?
I hope we have ignited a passion for nature among the people we met, and have reminded people that running is a fantastic way to find wildlife.