She quit her job at a technology start-up in order to build a new life for herself as an Endurance athlete, blogger, marketer, model and motivational speaker. The night she decided to quit, a friend said to her: "A ship in a harbour is safe, but that’s not what the ship was built for. Go Sailing."
Her first challenge was an adventure race through the jungle of Borneo called the Kinabulu Challenge. However, along with the athletic challenge she also had to build her profile and attract sponsors in order to finance her endeavours.
"I didn’t realise how hard it would be without teams and targets what I have learned to do is trust my own instincts." she explains. "Doing the Alpine coast to coast was my dream it gave me credibility and a voice."
This challenge also enabled Radcliffe to partner with Adidas, who signed on to sponsor the challenge and made Radcliffe an outdoor brand ambassador for the brand. "Brands need to look for people who are activating a community. It doesn’t mean you need a big audience. It is more powerful than just being good at your sport," she adds.
Redefining Role Models
Not only has Radcliffe built her life around her passions, she is also committed to helping others do the same. As someone who describes herself as ‘not a natural athlete’ inspiring others to step out of their comfort zone is at the heart of her mission.
She explains: "Adventure is still primarily a white, middle class schoolboy world. But I have helped to make it something that everyone has access to. When I started out it was all about the bearded male, but the fact is anyone can have an adventure, you don’t have to quit your job."
Radcliffe is keenly aware of the tiny fraction of the sponsorship market that is dedicated to women’s sport and emphasises the fact that it is dangerous to make assumptions about this blossoming marketplace. She explains: "In a lot of traditional sport’s circles there is still this notion that men watch men’s sport and women watch women’s sport. But in fact my audience is 50% male."
She believes that marketers should be at the vanguard of the fast-moving sports sponsorship market. "At its very essence marketing is about change and brands are looking to activate change in buying behaviours. But if you can relate that to passion you can get a competitive advantage.’ So what does that look like in practise? "It is about not just saying buy our shoes, instead it is about becoming part of our running club. It is about helping people overcome their anxieties through mental and physical challenges."
The social challenge
"It is a completely different world. I started doing these things years before social and digital exploded. Sometimes it can take the experience away from me and i have to do something just for me," she says. However she counters "my life and my job would not be possible without digital."
Content creation is, however, an unending task. "The world is constantly evolving so quickly there is no limit to what you can be doing. I should be doing a podcast, I could be vlogging, I could always be sharing," she explains. So in this ecosystem how does she know when to stop and how much of herself to give?
"A lot of bloggers and influencers are very introverted, they come to an event and they are attached to their phone the whole time. But I try to be present; you almost have to constantly remind yourself to be present in the moment."
Pointing to the advice of vulnerability expert and research professor Brene Brown she says that she constantly pushes back against the ‘not enough’ culture. She explains: "I try to share my opinion and be open and honest that a times we all struggle with managing life. Personally I try to take that pressure and turn it into something good."