Fell Running, Marathons & Mountain Biking; Founder of Element for Active Women – 018: Ruth Pickvance

Ruth shares her passion for the mountains, becoming an international fell running champion, fast marathons and how mountain bike orienteering has captured her interest aged 60. She is the founder of Element, offering active courses for women in Wales.

In 2012, Ruth Pickvance, an adventurous, retired international fell running champion and super-fast marathon runner, left her well-paid head of faculty role at a Sixth Form College, to set up Element. The business offers women the opportunity to find confidence in outdoor pursuits such as Yoga for Runners, Beginning Fell Running and Mountain Biking for Beginners. At sixty years old, Ruth herself has discovered that she enjoys mountain bike orienteering, which marries her love of the outdoors with the joy of moving her body with less impact on her joints than perhaps those marathons of her forties had created.

Living in the beautiful Brecon Beacons, Ruth shares more about her involvement in local environmental projects and conservation, as well as offering some first-hand wisdom regarding facing our fears and stretching those comfort zones.



Website: https://element-active.co.uk/

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/elementactive/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/RuthPickvance  

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/elementactiveuk



In the Best Urban and Adventure Category



Where to find HeadRightOut and Zoe on social media:







Music used in this episode:

This Minimal Technology by Coma-Media from Pixabay

Morning Garden – Acoustic Chill by Olexy from Pixabay

The Cradle of Your Soul by lemonmusicstudio from Pixabay

Simple Piano Melody by ZakharValaha from Pixabay

Intro, outro and transitions – ‘Stay Strong’ by Caffeine Creek Band


  • Welcome to the episode 00:51
  • Request for votes in the Sports Podcast Awards – Best Urban and Adventure Category – currently ranked in third place – this is likely to change 01:17
  • Different format for episode due to mic problems when recording. Please let me know if you like the format or preferred HeadRightOut’s original style 02:27
  • What to expect in our conversation. 03:23
  • Where Zoe and Ruth first met and Ruth’s bio: International Mountain Runner, Former British Fell Champion, fast marathon runner, exploring nature and founder of Element 04:06
  • How Ruth came into racing, visiting the Lake District one Christmas around 1985 and making a spontaneous decision 06:20
  • How quickly Ruth became good at the sport and why it touched a chord with her 08:42
  • How old Ruth was when she started racing and where her deep-rooted love of the mountains stemmed from 09:33
  • Zoe talks about the Gold Hill 10 race in Shaftesbury, Dorset – the strength needed running uphill vs the fear of running downhill 10:41
  • Where the fear comes from and how it affects us when running downhill 11:42
  • How to let go and deal with the fear head on 13:10
  • Understanding resilience both personally for Ruth and in general 15:13
  • What is fear, to Ruth? Recognising negative cycles and what we need 18:36
  • About perimenopause symptoms for Zoe 21:19
  • When menopause kicked in for Ruth and how she handled it 22:44
  • Ruth’s love for swimming and other activities – cycling, running, strength work, land management, walking 24:35
  • Zoe hearing about positive impact of exercise from other women in perimenopause including Jo Moseley 26:05
  • Ruth’s recommendations to see a GP or specialist doctor in menopause and HRT if symptoms are debilitating 26:42
  • Zoe’s experience with some of the perimenopause symptoms 27:27
  • Ruth talks about bringing curiosity to fear in order to see fear differently 29:09
  • Digging deep when the doubts and thoughts of being hopeless creep in 31:32
  • Mountain biking for beginners with Element – Ruth shares what some of the participants have said about the two-day course 35:28
  • What Element offers to women coming on the workshops and courses 38:14
  • Ruth’s volunteer work with Stump Up for Trees, planting a million trees 42:50
  • Guardian articles and reviews, Antonia Bolingbroke-Kent and Kate Rawles 44:42
  • Talking about Ruth’s days racing and fell running in the UK and Europe 46:08
  • Types of sponsorship available and the preference to not be fully professional as an athlete 48:32
  • Ruth’s HeadRightOut Moment 50:40
  • Running marathons and choosing fell running over the Olympics 51:57
  • Where to find Ruth on her website and on social media 53:50
  • Laughing about talking for fifty minutes. Thanks from Zoe to Ruth 54:40
  • Zoe shares Ruth’s PB for her fast marathon. Subscribe to Ruth’s newsletter for Element 55:08
  • Lou Lloyd’s HeadRightOut Moment – wild camping solo in the Brecon Beacons and WWOOFING on a smallholding 57:00
  • Zoe taking a short break to deal with family things 59:44
  • Please let Zoe know what you thought of the episode format 1:00:10
  • Please vote for HeadRightOut in the Sports Podcast Awards 1:00:43
  • Thanks to the listeners, thanks to the guests and an invitation to plan and then step out of your comfort zone 1:00:55
  • HeadRightOut Hugs to all 1:01:39



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