Nearly two years ago I was volunteering at a secondary school run and operated by Friends of Mulanje Orphans in Malawi and I was lucky enough to meet fellow English woman the lovely Emma Timmis who was accompanying Brendan Rendall as he ran the length of Malawi. She travelled to Mulanje with him and spent time getting to know about the incredible work that Mary and Keith Woodworth have been doing and then supported Brendan over the following weeks as he continued to train and then complete this fantastic challenge.
Now living in New Zealand she has not long returned from an amazing adventure that took her across Australia ……I caught up with Emma to see just what she has been up to and what plans she has for the future.
How did you get involved with accompanying Brendan running the length of Malawi in 2016?
Brendan contacting me about three years ago when I was living in Manchester and had just returned from running across Africa myself. He was interested to find out more about my run and invited me for a coffee. Once I met him, I saw what a lovely, genuine person he was. We met up a few times and became good friends. I wanted to help him out with his run in Malawi so offered to be part of the support team. I figured that from my experience of doing something similar, I would be a useful person to have as support.
What have you been doing since and why?
Since returning from Malawi in the summer of 2016 I’ve been involved in a multitude of events. I am now living in New Zealand permanently with my boyfriend, although I do return to the UK each year to see friends and family. I successfully completed a two day assessment to become a rock-climbing instructor which is now what I do for a job in Queenstown.
In June last year, I went to India as an assistant expedition leader. We took a group of 13 young adults to challenge themselves to become leaders and develop confidence. The month long journey comprised of learning how to get around and travel in the developing world, trekking in the Himalayas, a voluntary project helping at a school and exploring famous landmarks such as the Taj Mahal. Being part of this expedition has given me the kick up the backside that I need to complete my Mountain Leader qualification. Hopefully this will happen in the next year or two.
Then towards the end of the year I took on my first ever challenge to break a Guinness World Record. I rode 7,951km across Australia on an Elliptical bike. Errm what is an Elliptical bike Emma? An elliptical bike is a bicycle that you pedal in a similar way to the action used on a cross trainer in the gym. It’s designed for injured runners to continue training without the impact of running and Elliptigo AU/NZ let me borrow the bike for the journey.
After learning from the many adventures I’ve completed before, I knew that I had to put as much meaning into this challenge as I could. I made every aspect of the challenge something that I was fully passionate about.
I was raising money to educate girls in Africa which is close to my heart. Along the way, I went into schools to inspire children to get outside and to dream big. I was pushing my body further than ever before, riding for over 10 hours per day and towing everything in a trailer to be self sufficient. I made daily videos to share the adventure with the world. All in all, everything about the challenge inspired me, which in turn inspired others.
The journey was a great success. I surrounded myself with fantastic people I met each day and they became great friends. I learned so much about myself, my strengths and weaknesses. I raised $13,000 for charity. I got to spend 74 days riding on the incredible piece of kit that is the Elliptigo. And I’m just waiting to hear back from Guinness in regards to the world record. This was honestly the best thing I’ve ever done. Well done Emma you deserve to get the record in my book! ……..please let us know.
This journey really taught me that if you are following your dreams and passions you can overcome any obstacle in your way.
What are your plans for the future and where and when is your next challenge.
My plans for the future are mostly running based. I love the feeling you get from running and being so free. I have set the challenge to try and break the female world record for running the length of the UK. John O’Groats to Lands End is approximately 860 miles. The current record is 12 days and 15 hours, held by Mimi Anderson. My aim will be to get as close to 12 days as I can. Good Luck for that one and please let us know your dates when available and we will follow your run with interest.
You can follow more of Emma’s adventures at