Whenever I am asked ‘why?’ my usual answer is ‘why not?’
Mimi Anderson is an inspirational ultra runner, not just for her running abilities, but for pushing the boundaries of what women can achieve, starting her career at a time when ultra running was an almost exclusively male preserve.
Beyond Impossible charts Mimi’s journey from an unfit 36 year old who started running because she wanted thinner legs, to a top ultra runner and world record holder. However, the most compelling parts of the book tell the story of Mimi’s battles with anorexia, triggered by abuse and bullying as a child. Reading about the serious abuse Mimi suffered at the hands of a nanny (and her mother’s guilt at failing to protect her) made me give my own children an extra cuddle that night!
Mimi describes her struggle with anorexia with great honesty and explains how running has allowed her to finally control her eating disorder.
As I loved to run and learned that I needed to eat well in order to run well, starving myself has never seemed a viable option since I took up the sport… I might not enjoy eating, but I did enjoy running, and I understood without the former, the latter couldn’t happen.
I also identified strongly with her thoughts on balancing being a mother with her own running ambitions.
We mothers are often made to feel guilty about taking time for ourselves but once I put my trainers on and go for a run, I have so much more energy when I get back and I am less grumpy – which pleases my whole family… Mothers (and indeed all women) should never be made to feel guilty about exercising, as it can do wonders for our health and self-esteem and sets a good example to children that being active is a normal, everyday activity.
Beyond Impossible is based around the story of Mimi’s attempt on the John O’Groats to Land’s End (JOGLE) World Record and provides an in depth insight into what is needed to achieve such a challenge. Mimi also describes her success in some of the world’s greatest running races, including the Marathon des Sables, Badwater and Spartathlon, and how in many cases she has taken these a step further by running ‘Double’ versions, including Badwater, Comrades, Spartathlon and the Grand Union Canal Race.
Something of a specialist in extreme conditions, the book details her wins in races from deserts and jungles to the Arctic. Not content with race success, Mimi also describes her enjoyment of breaking World Records, such as the JOGLE and the fastest crossing of Ireland, as well as running 1,223 miles along the length of the Freedom Trail in South Africa.
It is not all about the successes though, and Mimi speaks with honesty about some of her failures and mistakes, such as her first attempt at the JOGLE record, her first attempt at a Double Spartathlon and getting drunk the night before the Grand Union Canal Race! However, through all of this her positivity shines through:
I believe you can always turn a negative into a positive if you’re willing to learn from your mistakes.
Her story will inspire anyone from ultra runners to those just setting out on their running journey, but beware, after reading this book Mimi is likely to have convinced you that you can achieve anything you set your mind to!
I’m a strong believer that you need to challenge yourself in life and shouldn’t be afraid to take on something that scares you. Failure isn’t something I am afraid of. How can we ever know what it is possible to achieve unless we try?
Beyond Impossible is published by Summersdale and can be purchased via Amazon by clicking on the image below:
Not content with her achievements so far, Mimi is currently attempting to break the female record for running across America. You can follow her progress via her website.
Disclaimer: This post contains affiliate links; it does not cost you any more to purchase via the link, but does help make it viable for me to keep this blog going!