Q & A with Ultra Marathon runner, Mimi Anderson

by Kate McNeil October 01, 2014

Mimi Anderson is our fabulous Ultra Marathon ambassador, who is currently running along the beautiful Freedom Trail in South Africa, with the concept of raising money for social change. This challenge equates to running 64 marathons back to back! Find out more in our interview with Mimi here:




1. You have an impressive resume of achievements; you’re an inspiration to any athlete and especially a key female role model. What advice would you give to an individual starting out in running?


The first bit of advice I would suggest to someone starting out on their running adventure is to set yourself a goal, something to keep you motivated and aim towards. Perhaps it might be as simple as getting out for 20 minutes a day three times a week, or going along to your local park run where you will meet other runners and it’s free! Once you have achieved your goal set yourself another one and before you know it you will be running your first half marathon.


To reach these goals you will need to get some structure into your training. There are many free training plans on-line that will help get you started. Having a plan keeps you on track and helps to get you out of the house when it’s cold and miserable outside!


Kit doesn’t have to be expensive, but it would be worth going to a running shop were they do running gait analysis. This involves running on a treadmill for a few minutes while a video films your feet. The video is then played back in slow motion so they can watch your running pattern. From that information they will be able to provide you with a pair of trainers that suit your running style.


Listen to your body. Your body will tell you when things aren’t right, maybe you are doing too much too quickly so need to take a couple of days rest to recover or you have a little niggle somewhere - try to get them sorted before they become any worse. I have a rule - when I have an injury/illness - once I feel I’m fully recovered I’ll always take another couple of days off just to make sure my body is fully recovered and back on track.


Most of all enjoy it, there is nothing better than putting on a pair of trainers and heading off for a run you will see the world in a new light.


2. Your currently running 2350km along the Freedom Trail in South Africa, with the concept of ‘running’ for social change in SA. That’s an incredible 64 back-back marathons! Tell us a little more about this:


I was looking for a big challenge a few years ago and a South African friend of mine suggested that I should look at running along their beautiful Freedom Trail - 2 years ago I mentioned the idea of running 2,350km to Samantha Gash from Australia and although I think at the time she thought I was completely mad, jumped at the idea. We have had endless Skype calls, emails flying backwards and forwards to establish what you know today as the Freedom Runners.


Samantha and I will be running approximately 80km a day over 32 days starting in Pietermaritzburg and finishing in Paarl just outside Cape Town. The route is stunning and will take us to some of the most beautiful places in South Africa.


This will be the biggest challenge either of us has undertaken to date but it has become so much more than just about the physical challenge. Our goal is to raise £30,000 to set up a social enterprise business in the Free State of South Africa employing about a dozen women to manufacture re-usable feminine hygiene products that will be distributed at a low cost to the schoolgirls in the community.


Once the girls reach puberty 1 in 3 will not attend school during their periods as they are unable to afford to buy sanitary pads; instead they will stay at home using old rags, newspaper, sometimes nothing at all,. They will miss out on approximately 5 days of school each month – 60 days missed each year and many eventually dropping out of education altogether. By setting up the social enterprise business it will enable the girls to remain in education giving them the opportunity of a better future and that of their children.




 3. In a race your mind will always face a mental ‘barrier’, how do you battle through this?


Part of my build-up to races is thinking about some of the issues/problems that may arise and working out in my mind how I’m going to deal with them.


I will do a lot of research into the race, ask questions, look at photos, videos etc this way I know what to expect. I like to have a picture in my mind of what the finish line looks like, so when I’m going through a bad patch I can visualize the picture with my family standing there cheering me on and it gives me a huge lift.


In a long race I never think of the total distance, if I had done this for my World Record (1,352 km) I wouldn’t have even put my trainers on! I take one day at a time and even break the day up into sections so it becomes one section at a time, or one check-point at a time, I find this much easier to cope with.


I know that I’m always going to have a bad patch at some point in the race, probably several, but what works for me is talking to myself (I know - a sign of madness!) I ask myself “whose idea was this in the first place” and of course the answer is always “me” so I have no reason to complain and just tell myself to stop being wet and get on with it. For me it’s much easier going through a bad-patch on my own rather than having other people asking if I’m OK. They usually don’t last that long so I know that if I keep digging deep I will eventually come out the other side.


4. What are your top 5 nutritional foods you always have on you/in your fridge/in the cupboards?


This isn’t one of my strongest points. Having suffered with anorexia for over 15 years where all I thought about was food and how much I ate or didn’t eat, I now try and eat a balanced healthy diet and am delighted that I’m fit and healthy.


  • A variety of fruit/vegetables
  • Dried pulses
  • Nuts and seeds
  • Yogurt
  • Cheese (I love cheese!)


5. With being an ambassador to Nordic Oil, what is your favourite product/one supplement you take most regularly and why? Is there a time of year you use one product more often?


The supplement I take most regularly is the Nordic Oil high grade Omega 3 Capsules. I find them easy to swallow and convenient when I go travelling. When I’m at home I also use the Nordic Oil – very useful for adding to smoothies.


Each morning I will take two capsules with my breakfast I found this a great routine to get into. With the long distances that I run Omega 3 is a huge benefit as it’s a natural anti-inflammatory so great for helping me with recovery after training. There are many other benefits but for me as a lady of 52 it also benefits my bones and joints.



Kate McNeil
Kate McNeil