‘Break out of your comfort zone!’

Sophie Christiansen, Paralympian, mathematician, horsewoman, human whirlwind, began it with a tweet on New Year’s Day.

“Break out of your comfort zone as much as possible and you might surprise yourself. #HappyNewYear”.

The woman with eight Paralympic gold medals, the scourge of train companies with poor disability access, the female athlete who won the most public votes at the BBC Sports Personality of the Year last month – not least for marching deliberately on to the stage without the aid of her wheelchair – is the ultimate example of not bothering much with comfort zones.

It is in honour of her indomitable spirit that the Mixed Zone launches a 2017 campaign to encourage women and girls – elite and grassroots; all ages, shapes and makes – to leap out their comfort zone with at least one fun, physical, esteem-raising, health-boosting, rut-busting adventure. And then tell us all about it.

It can be anything from Olympic hockey gold winner, Hannah MacLeod, signing up for a leg of the Clipper Round the World Yacht Race this year, having once sunbathed on the deck of a catamaran as evidence of previous experience, to former nurse Tracey Shorthouse who, despite a diagnosis of early onset dementia at 45, is determined to walk 23 kilometres across the South Downs this summer.

In addition, watch out for:

*Scottish beach volleyball duo, Lynne Beattie and Mel Coutt, on their quest to make the Commonwealth Games on the Gold Coast in 2018 despite no central funding and bouts of frostbite from training on the “beaches of Edinburgh”.

*GB kayaker Rosie Preston, with sights set on the World Championships in Japan this year, on her extracurricular plan to trek alone the entire length of the Andes on horseback – with a donkey.

*Bron Burrell, 72, on revving up her old rally car on the London–Lisbon jaunt this year – the same Austin Maxi in which she and an all-women team took part in the 16,173-mile, 25-country London–Mexico World Cup rally in 1970 – only conking out in a ditch in Argentina.

So now it is over to you. Send your intentions and stories to: shewhodares@themixedzone.co.uk

The Mixed Zone will publish a selection of the best.

Warning: photographs, especially hilarious ones, essential.

Finally: It was the American poet Mary Oliver who asked: “What is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?” Answers on an email.

To read The Mixed Zone editor Sue Mott’s hilarious contribution to the She Who Dares campaign, click HERE


Sue Mott is an award-winning sport journalist who has worked on radio, TV and the written press. Sue’s latest articles

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Women’s Sport Trust want to thank our partner Getty Images for some of the imagery of women in sport used on this site. Click here to view the editorial curation featuring the world’s top sportswomen in action and here to learn more about our partnership with Getty Images.

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