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Exclusive interview: Sarah Williams from the Tough Girl Podcast

Sarah Williams Tough Girl Podcast


Exclusive interview: Sarah Williams from the Tough Girl Podcast

When I saw the winners of the Sports Podcast Awards this year, I was thrilled to see which podcast was recognised as Best Urban & Adventure Podcast. The Tough Girl Podcast is not only a great outdoors podcast to inspire you to get outdoors more, but it highlights women in adventure and extreme sports – where they are traditionally underrepresented – and it is also a completely independent production .

The Tough Girl podcast has already collected a few credentials (it won the Shextreme Best Adventure Podcast Award in 2019, and the Women’s Sports Trust #BeAGameChanger National Award for Media Initiative of the Year 2018) and Tough Girl’s host, Sarah Williams, has her own impressive list of extreme achievements. From completing the intense Marathon des Sables (that’s 6 marathons in 6 days across the Sahara Desert!) to thru-hiking the Appalachian Trail (2,190 miles) solo and unsupported in 100 days, and gaining a Masters degree in Women & Gender Studies with dissertation focusing on “Women, Adventure and Fear”.

I wanted to know more about how this podcast came about, and find out just how Sarah does it all…

Sarah Williams beach photo

Why did you decide to start podcasting in the first place?

I wanted to share more women’s stories and I wanted to hear from women about their adventures and their physical challenges.

I also wanted to increase the amount of female role models in the media especially in relation to adventure and exploration.

I also believe it’s important for other women to see role models but to also know how someone got to where they are; what was their journey, what challenges did they overcome, how did they keep going, what are their top tips and advice. By hearing these stories I believed it would inspire women to make changes in their own lives and to step outside their comfort zone and take on new adventures and challenges.

You make content across platforms – would you say there’s something special about podcasting?

Podcasting is so personal. It’s hearing peoples voices when they tell a story. The tone of voice, the pauses, the emphasise, the tempo, the words used. It’s the power of personal story telling. You don’t get that from the written word.

Sarah Williams on AT

Congratulations on your recent Sports Podcast Awards win! You’re not a stranger to podcast awards – what advice would you give to other budding award winners?

Thank you!!! It’s always an honour to win an award.

It’s great to get the recognition but for me it always comes back – to the tough girl mission. To increase the amount of female role models in the media. Hopefully by winning an award the TGP will get more publicity and exposure, which in turn will encourage more women and girls to listen to the TGP who will then be inspired to take on their own personal challenges and adventures.

For budding award winners – you have to be in it to win it – so enter the competitions, even if you are a small, niche podcast, it doesn’t matter. If you’re not in it, you can’t win it!!. Good Luck!!

Who’s your dream guest for the podcast?

I would love to speak with Sarah Marquis – Swiss adventurer and explorer. From 2010 to 2013, she walked 20,000 kilometres alone from Siberia to the Gobi Desert, into China, Laos, Thailand, and then across Australia. I would love to have her be a guest.

Which is harder – hiking the AT in 100 days or releasing at least a podcast episode every week?

Hiking the AT – without question!!! I’m getting so much more efficient at producing podcasts – I’ve actually been producing 2 podcasts a week for the past 2 years (every Tuesday and Thursday at 7am UK time). But I will be going back to 1 a week in May. – every Tuesday at 7am.

What’s the biggest lesson you’ve learnt so far as a podcaster?

To trust in the journey – you are not going to see results overnight and so many people give up too soon. If you believe in your message and why you are doing it – stick with it.

I’ve always been very clear on my mission and goal for the Tough Girl Podcast – which is to increase the amount of female role models in the media. It’s not about the downloads it’s about the impact the podcast has had on people lives.

Sarah Williams on a trail

Which episode would you say is the perfect introduction to your podcast?

It’s so difficult, with over 500+ episodes to choose from. So I’m going to say….Any – they are all fantastic! You will learn something new and be inspired. It’s a win win when you listen to the TGP!

Listen to the Tough Girl Podcast on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, and other podcast platforms. 

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