“Sorry, I’d been out with the dogs.” was the first thing Jo said to me, we’d not decided whether to use video or not so Jo had thought to take my call whilst out and about. But I was quite excited to actually SEE someone who had actually climbed Everest! There are few greater mountaineering achievements, although Jo has her eye on the next one: she is one peak away from completing the Seven Summits - climbing the highest mountain on every continent. But back to that later.
“I applied to Tesco on the Thursday, hours later I had an interview, and at 6am on Monday morning I was sat at the checkout.” We both laughed at the absurdity of going from Everest climbing, semi-celebrity to the most indoor job you can think of. “Luckily it wasn’t long before I transferred to driving, which is what I wanted to do. The extent of the interview was “Can you drive?” and I said “yes”.”
I hadn’t really thought about the practicalities of supermarket delivery driving before, but it sounds like really hard work. Jo explained the system of loading and unloading: “You end up lifting a ton and a half of groceries during each 10 hour shift!”. Being busy, and earning money weren’t the only benefits - Jo told me about the other employees she met, some of whom were also Covid temps, and everyone had really interesting lives. “I did miss my dogs though. There was no way I could look after them well doing 10 hours shifts, so I left them with my Mum.”
“If you’d told me last year that I would run 30 miles on my 50th birthday, I’d say you were nuts!”
“I want to be seen as a good leader, not as a good female leader.”
With international travel still unplannable, Jo’s schedule is looking very UK focused for the moment. Until next year that is. Who wouldn't want to do an ultra marathon in Lapland?! “I’ve signed up for the Montane Lapland Arctic Ultra in Sweden next year” Jo explains, “so I’ll be getting Dave the tyre back out and getting stuck into training.” (Dave is a tractor tyre that Jo drags around the New Forest to build strength for pulling a sledge!). What an adventure! Not forgetting the final summit. Mount Carstensz in Indonesia is waiting.
“Go commando. I’m serious!" I was giggling, "that’s the only way to avoid chafing. Then set a date and build up gradually. You want to get your muscles used to the kind of activity you will be doing, but you don’t need to complete the whole distance before the big day. And when the day comes, plan your hydration and nutrition, eat and drink before you think you need to, and focus on smaller sections. The next hour or until the next water stop.”
Great advice! I’m so pleased that Jo agreed to talk to me, and I’m excited to continue stalking her achievements and getting ideas for my own adventures. Jo’s blog is definitely worth a read, and check out her Instagram too.
Have you got any questions for Jo? Or any tips for my 100km bike ride? Comment below. (Go on, be the first, I love getting comments!)