Ultra-runner, climber and cyclist Heather Dawe has gone from an unfit, teenage drinker and smoker to a multi-sport race-winner.
One of the UK’s leading endurance athletes, Heather has competed and won at elite level in many mountain marathons and has run the Bob Graham Round in under 22 hours. In 2008 she won the renowned Three Peaks Cyclo-cross.
At the Buxton Adventure Festival on Sunday November 3, she’ll be talking to Trail Running Editor Claire Maxted about a near-death experience that transformed her life and the drive to keep pushing herself harder and harder.
“When I was 17,” she explained, “I’d already been smoking for a few years and realised I was quite unhealthy.
“I thought I’d try to quit and start running. I’d literally jog less than half a mile and collapse on the sofa with my heart racing. But within a few months I was running up to four miles and the day after my 18th birthday I did my first 10k.
“I don’t do anything by halves. I think part of it stems from being hit by a car in my early 20s. It was a near-death moment and it made me realise that you’re only around once.”
In 2008, Heather penned a book ‘Adventures in Mind’ which received an extremely positive reception, being one of the very few books in this genre written by a woman.
She said: “It was a great year and I wanted to explore what drives me. I’d run the Bob Graham Round (42 Lakeland fells) in under 22 hours and won the Mountain X five day adventure race and the Three Peaks Cyclo Cross Race.
“Since I finished the book I’ve also started painting and I’ve had a baby.
“I’m now raising funds via Kickstarter for a new book project to illustrate next year’s Tour De France route which will visit my home town of Otley.
“It will include a watercolour of where the route heads into the High Peak at Holme Moss. I cycled over there for the first time recently – it’s a brilliant ride – the view from the top looking over the Peak District is wonderful.”
Find out more about Heather’s talk as well as her book, paintings and Kickstarter project via the Buxton Adventure Festival website www.buxtonadventurefestival.co.uk.
Tickets to see Heather are £10 (£5 for students and under-16s) or you can buy three sessions for £25 (£12.50). Family tickets, admitting two adults and two children, are £20. They are available from Buxton Opera House on 0845 127 2190 or www.buxtonoperahouse.org.uk and www.buxtonadven turefestival.co.uk.