Get outside and challenge yourself with Tobias Mews

Whether he’s hiking up a mountain, swimming in a lake or running a marathon backwards, adventure journalist and author Tobias Mews is always on the go. So there was no better title really for his new book! GO: An inspirational guide to getting outside and challenging yourself.

It’s the ultimate inspirational guide whether you are looking to find a new challenge on your doorstep or wanting to create an epic seven-day adventure, Tobias brings together all you need to get you out of your comfort zone and more importantly outside.Climbing - GO Tobias Mews

Tell us a bit about your background, what made you decide to go into adventure journalism?

When I was a kid, I had wanted to work in international relations and focused most of my studies and work experience in that direction, before eventually joining the British Army and commissioning into the Royal Artillery. Ironically, I only got in by the skin of my teeth, having deemed me not fit enough!

After six years commissioned service, I eventually left the Army to pursue a career in TV journalism, whilst on the weekends I raced – everything from Ironman and ultra marathons to OCR and adventure racing. I then got a lucky break as a monthly columnist with Triathlete’s World, and everything spiralled from there. I never set out to become a writer, but kind of fell into it by chance. I’ve not looked back since.

Where does your inspiration for the challenges come from?

Much to my wife’s amusement (and occasional irritation), I have a very active imagination and when fuelled with a pint of beer and in the company of a couple of mates, it can often get carried away. It was only after having done a couple of hundred races from wife-carrying to multi-day ultra-marathons through jungles, mountains and deserts that I realised that I could just as easily organise a challenge as enter a readymade one.

I became inspired by anytime challenges such as the Bob Graham Round, the Tour Divide, the Club des Cingles de Mont Venoux, Everesting – all challenges that don’t really cost anything, but simply require some moral courage, a decent level of fitness and a positive attitude. And then 18 months ago, I did a 15 day tour (in winter) of all of Great Britain’s 15 national parks, putting into practice these #GoRaceItYourself styled adventures.

Swimming from GO by Tobias Mews

Talking about GO! – what is your main aim with the book?

My main aim is very simple: to encourage people to create their own challenges and adventures, to turn every day training runs and rides into something more exciting.

All you need is a sprinkle of imagination and a heavy dose of good humour and you’ll be amazed what you can come up with.

Jumping from GO by Tobias Mews

Was it important to have a book for all levels of fitness and ability?

Absolutely. We’re not all elite die hard athletes looking for a sufferfest. Most of us just want to challenge ourselves whilst also having fun. Indeed, ‘fun’ is a word that’s often missing from many of the races that I’ve done in the past – ones where I delve into some dark recess in my mind as I zip up my man suit to simply finish the race, let alone finish in a respectable position.

We mustn’t get scared off from stepping outside of our comfort zone, but we also need to incorporate fun into our everyday adventures. As I watch my 17-month-old do nothing but play and have fun, I realised that us adults don’t ‘play’ as much as we should. So, regardless of your fitness level, you can make these challenges as difficult or easy as you please.

Was it an easy process selecting the 33 challenges inside?

I’d like to say yes, but it wasn’t. A race, challenge or adventure must have a storyline. It’s got to be easy to describe to your mates and equally capture your imagination. We’re so often limited by distance (5Ks, marathons, Ironman triathlons, etc) that it’s quite fun to spin things on their head and focus on quality time related challenges instead.

Since I finished writing the book, I’ve been coming up with lots more ideas, so there’s plenty of room for a second book!

Peak to peak from GO by Tobias Mews

Proudest achievement for you?

That’s a tricky question to answer. Strangely enough, I would probably say my proudest achievement was giving the Bob Graham Round a go, failing after 45 odd miles and not being put off by the experience. I’ve only ever DNF’d once, so failure to me isn’t something I often encounter. But I revelled in the fact that I’d found something worthy of challenging me – and I’ve been seeking to replicate that experience since then.

Where in the world would you say has the most opportunity for adventure?

New Zealand, France, South Africa and the UK are the four places that immediately spring to mind. But honestly, with a bit of imagination, almost every country has an adventure offering. The more mountainous the country, the more opportunities – whether on a bike, in a kayak or on foot.

But it’s simply a case of looking for patterns and joining the dots.

What challenge/adventure is next for you?

Having recently moved to the French Pyrenees, I’ve got a new backyard to explore. To that end, I’m doing a circumnavigation of the Pyrenees massif by bike, following the Route des Cols on the French side and the mountain bike trails on the Spanish side.

I’m also going to do a hut to hut adventure with James Carnegie along the Pyrenean Haute Route. And I’m also planning an extreme twinning cycle ride between my local town of Pau and Pistoia in Italy.GO from Tobias Mews

What challenges are on the bucket list?

Gosh, there are so many. I’ve feel a strange compulsion to complete an Everesting challenge on one of my local cols here in the Pyrenees. I also want to complete the Cents Cols challenge – which is just the beginning of a slippery slope into more madcap cycle challenges.

I also want to run both the GR10 and GR11 back to back. Which is totally bonkers, considering the distance and elevation gain.

If you’ve been inspired by Tobias then there’s nothing left but to #GoRaceItYourself! Order your copy of his brilliant new book here