#118: Meredith Quinlan & Jess Baker on Running the Length of Iceland [Podcast] - Sparta Chicks

#118: Meredith Quinlan & Jess Baker on Running the Length of Iceland [Podcast]

Sparta Chicks Radio

Aug 11
Welcome Meredith Quinlan and Jess Baker to Sparta Chicks Radio
“The Imposter Complex encompasses some kind of social element; you’re comparing yourself to other people or a defined role. So I think when you set your own adventures, like Iceland - and we didn’t really post about it on social media; we just went and did it - so there’s nobody really to be compared to or judged by. So I suppose in a way it removes the Imposter Complex a little bit”

This week on Sparta Chicks Radio I’m joined by two women who remind me of the importance of exploring what lights you up and the importance of surrounding yourself with people who believe in you (perhaps even more than you believe in yourself).

Meredith Quinlan and Jess Baker are two of Australia’s best ultramarathon runners with a string of victories and records to their name.

In recent years, they have begun exploring what lies beyond organised races.

In 2018, their love of travel and running took them to Iceland where they ran the length of Iceland - from the northern tip to the southern tip - and set a Fastest Known Time (FKT) in the process.

The ‘Iceland Traverse’ was a self-supported journey of around 580km which took them 7 days and 13 hours to complete.

Crossing the ice in, well, Iceland

Crossing the ice in, well, Iceland

In this conversation, we discuss:

* how they each discovered running (including Meredith’s experience of not being able to run the length of her local oval in the early day),

* the surprising benefit of planning your future schedule of races and challenges far in advance,

* whether there was any sense of rivalry between them (given that Meredith was winning races and setting records as Jess was coming up into the sport),

* failure and why Meredith doesn’t fear it (and it’s a perspective we can all learn from),

* that Meredith can’t identify with or understand the Imposter Complex,

* Jess’ experience with the Imposter Complex, why she says it can be helpful at times and why setting your own rules and parameters can help to alleviate it,

* where the idea to traverse Iceland came from, 

* how Iceland’s rich history of strong women inspired them,

* the logistics involved in a self-supported crossing of Iceland, which included being powered by chocolate biscuits and slabs of chocolate for a 100km stretch and a 300km section where there were no resupply options, 

* the moment they thought they had bitten off more than they could chew, and

* what they learnt about themselves from the experience.

Views for days

Two things stood out for me in this conversation.

Firstly, how their motivation has changed and having finished (and in some cases, won) numerous races over the years, they are now seeking new challenges and adventures. 

It’s so important to be aware of, and chase, the experiences that ‘light you up’ (rather than falling prey to FOMO or doing what your friends are doing). 

And secondly, as you’ll quickly notice - these women are each other’s biggest fans. 

The way they support each other demonstrates the momentum that develops when you surround yourself with people who have you back and who believe in you (sometimes more than you believe in yourself).