Super Sue

And the winner of the 2017 Adventure Queen + Arc’Teryx Grant is…. Sue Barrett! This summer, Sue plans to mostly run (and swim and cycle in parts) 1,500 miles along the spine of the Alps. Following the Via Alpina, from Trieste to Monaco, passing through 8 countries (Slovenia, Austria, Germany, Liechtenstein, Switzerland, Italy, France, and Monaco), sleeping in mountain huts and having her daughters join her along the way for the odd stint too. Oh, and Sue is 55 years old. No biggy.

“I would like to go on a mountain adventure. I like the idea of going uphill and down; of the struggle to get up and the fun of coming down. I like the idea of being in the natural wilderness, of breathing clean air and sleeping under the stars.

“I want to stay in those little mountain huts and share stories with new people and I want to see if I can move my body 1,500 miles under my own steam.”

Via Alpina route

WHY DID WE PICK SUE?

We have to say that Sue’s application took us by surprise. Or rather the way her application made us feel took us by surprise. Not only were the words in her submission ambitious, funny, humble and wonderfully honest (all qualities of true Adventure Queen) –  it was clear that if we were able to award her the grant then it would help her move in a new direction from a crossroads in her life.

“Well, several events have collided and I’m feeling at a bit of a crossroads in my life and feeling the need to take some time out to re-think what happens next and to re-energise and I thought a long run/ hike with some hills thrown in would provide a fitting backdrop to reflect and to contemplate.”

“I’d thought about walking the Via Alpina Route, one section at a time over a couple of years but now with an Adventure Queen mindset I’m thinking why not do the whole route in one go?!”

At 55 years old Sue was the oldest applicant out of the 120 that landed at our Adventure Queen HQ doorstep. With two daughters, and having spent the past few years looking after her own parents, we couldn’t help but feel that now is Sue’s time to shine.

“The sandwich years [are difficult] – when you have both your children and your parents still needing you, and there’s not time to focus on the importance of having time to be yourself , to retain perspective, in between being a mother and a daughter.”

Sue standing in garden

Mothership is a huge sacrifice, and a mother will always put her needs second. So we want to help Super Sue be able to put herself first and kickstart the next phase of her life with a adventure. The fact that her daughters may join her for a while too, well that just adds a cherry on the awesome-cake.

“I want to keep my mind and body as strong as possible for as long as possible and to inspire and encourage my children to keep active and challenge themselves.”

HOW LONG WILL IT TAKE?

We’ll let #SuperSue answer that one:

“If I took the idea of ‘Around the Alps in 80 days’ as a theme, then 80 days hopefully….however if I took the ‘Menopausal Mum in the Mountains’ approach and I get really hot then I could be a little while longer”

HOW DOES SUPER SUE THINK IT WILL CHALLENGE HER?

“There will be the physical challenges of running day after day after day; of carrying supplies and eating and drinking enough to keep fuelled; of coping with the stresses that ascending and descending puts on muscles and bones and of being at altitude.”

Sue on swing

WHAT NOW?

Sue will be getting her mitts on the £1,000 in cash shortly, plus access to £1,000 worth of Arc’Teryx kit, which is no doubt going to come in very handy in the mountains.

We’ll keep you updated along the way with Sue’s journey via the monthly newsletter, and will be sharing her thoughts before, during and after the mammoth adventure.

And we’re share details of Sue’s blog when she gets that going too.

Let’s get #SuperSue trending! For all the Mumma’s out there, and to show that you can be an Adventure Queen at any age.

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