The Countryside is a very White Place. Living Adventurously 61

Sabrina Pace-Humphreys is an ultra-runner, a businesswoman, a mother of four and a grandmother of two. She is very clear which is the toughest of these challenges...!

Sabrina Pace-Humphreys is an ultra-runner, a businesswoman, a mother of four and a grandmother of two. She is very clear which is the toughest of these challenges...! We talked about becoming a teenage mother, taking up running to lose weight, training for the Marathon des Sables, enduring rural racism, and the launch of Black Trail Runners whose mission is to increase the inclusion, participation and representation of black people in trail running.

THIS EPISODE IS BROUGHT TO YOU BY The Outdoor Swimming Society which has spearheaded significant cultural change in the way outdoor swimming is viewed and the number of people who take part in it. Full of doers, thinkers and creatives, The OSS team uses its talents and personal time to drive change. Over the last 15 years we have had a direct impact on individuals’ swimming habits, inland access, social swimming networks and open water events, all of which has contributed to the lido revival, and the current art, science and culture around swimming.

(If your company or organisation is interested in sponsoring Living Adventurously, please get in touch!)
(It’s completely free, zero hassle to do (click here), but very helpful for me. If you’re feeling extra kind, please leave a review on the app – that really helps.)
Listen on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Stitcher, TuneIn (“Alexa, please play the Living Adventurously podcast”) or on your favourite podcast platform such as Overcast, Google Podcasts, Pocket Casts, Breaker, Soundcloud, Castbox, Castro.


  • If you enjoy listening to this episode over a cup of coffee and think it might be worth the price, you can buy me a "coffee" here: www.
  • Keep up to date with future episodes (and my other adventures, projects and books) with my free monthly newsletter:
  • Say hello on Twitter and Instagram: @al_humphreys
  • @blacktrailrunners
  • @sabrunsmiles
  • Being a mum of 4 is harder than being an ultrarunner or a businesswoman
  • Being a mum is good ultramarathon training - the pain, the exhaustion etc.!
  • Jasmin Paris - winner of the Spine Race
  • Being a teenage mother means you have energy, you don't have competitive pressure or comparisons
  • A firm believer that life happens for a reason. You take the path that is in front of you. 
  • Put on 5 stone (31kg) after giving birth. This was what prompted to her to begin running
  • I was so ashamed of my body that I didn't dare go to the gym
  • Symphisis pubis dysfunction
  • Began running purely to shift weight
  • Being overweight with a baby, a toddler and a business to run meant that she could not move quick enough for everyday life. Needed to be more mobile
  • Managed half a mile on her first run. A friend said "it looks like you are breathing out of your arse." I was as red as a beetroot.
  • Gave up alcohol 5 years ago. 40th birthday decided to set a huge challenge, an adventure, something out of her comfort zone. Signed up for the Marathon des Sables
  • Took up trail running to get the rough terrain training needed for the MdS
  • MdS - have to carry all your clothes, food etc.
    James Cracknell MDS film - - That looks horrendous - I have to get an entry to that race!
  • Dean Karnazes - Ultramarathon Man: Confessions of an All-Night Runner
  • Committed to the race by immersing herself in the MdS, learning everything she could. 
  • Every adventure I do I want to taste it before committing to it by researching as much as I can
  • Coached by Elisabet Barnes -
  • Training had to fit into my life, not life had to fit into training: lots of 4am runs
  • I couldn't afford to break myself in the Sahara as I had a family back home
  • Family acknowledges that running helps manage her mental health
  • Mission is to be the best version of myself
  • There's a lot of pressure on females that training is being selfish
  • Luxury item on the MdS - pictures and photos from her family
  • Silly MdS decision not to take running poles
  • Succeeding at this enormous event brought deep satisfaction... for about 2 hours! And then came the "what next"
  • Depressed for about a month afterwards
  • Once you've achieved the impossible, where do you go from here?
  • She knew she needed to commit to another challenge to pick herself up again
  • Needs goals in her life
  • I don't know if I'll ever find that pinnacle, and now feeling fulfilled and able to move on to crochet knitting or whatever!
  • I believe we are all here for a specific purpose
  • Enduring rural racism since childhood and adult microagressions has had an impact on her mental health
  • Living in a small minority means she feels she needs to prove her existence.
  • Racism prods and pokes at self-esteem
  • Microagressions in the running community; access to wild places
  • The countryside is a very white place. She feels like an oddity.
  • Running up a hill listening to music - people looking in a disapproving way
  • Become very sensitive to microaggressions when you live with them day in, day out.
  • People jumping out of the way to avoid her
  • Running places do not always feel like safe places
  • You can't be what you can't see (
  • Look In magazine
  • Running community assumes it is welcoming, but with it all being white, and most black people living in urban places, how can we broaden the reach?
  • Need to address it from the top down and bottom up
  • Need education, skills, knowledge on gear / places to go.
  • Brands don't showcase black amateur athletes
  • Not enough black people in senior management for brands. 
  • Need to improve grassroots access
  • Ask uncomfortable questions, have uncomfortable conversations
  • Words are not enough - we need action to facilitate change
  • When I'm on my deathbed I want to feel that I have made a difference
  • Trail running is a form of therapy for the trauma of racism

★ Support this podcast ★

Join our newsletter

Got it. You're on the list!
© 2019 Alastair Humphreys