Laura Brown is a true inspiration; a triathlete, endurance athlete, adventurer and explorer and concept director at Central London cycle studio and Botanic Lab stockist One10. In only 3 short years Laura has made the leap from a passionate fitness lover to a fully fledged professional athlete, gallantly securing a place on Team GB after her second Ironman contest when she "was still a little wobbly on her bike".
Impressive for a lady who turned up to the first Ironman athletes briefing in a Zara playsuit and Top Shop sunglasses, surrounded by serious contenders head to toe in Rapha sports kit. Gone are those days. In Laura's words; "The more I immerse myself in this world, I’m less concerned with what I look like and more interested in how I feel which is stronger, truly inspired and excited to run, cycle, swim and generally explore the world around me." We couldn't love her more.
So Laura, you are officially the first person we’ve met that has made it to Everest Base Camp! What an achievement. What inspired you to tackle that?
I decided to take on a year of challenges this year before I turned 30 and wanted to raise money for charity whilst I was at it! Most of my other challenges were day long events in a race environment so I wanted to end on something different. Everest was more of a mental challenge and I’ve always had a desire to do Base Camp. There’s something about Everest that is just so appealing!
Was there any point you thought you might not make it?
Never! I think once you start doubting yourself you’re fighting a losing battle. I always knew I would make it, not because it was easy but because I’d already made a commitment to myself that I’d have to be dragged kicking and screaming by a paramedic before I quit! Altitude is tough and headaches are common but you can’t allow yourself to fixate on that. It’s that old saying of ‘whether you think you can or whether you think you can’t, you’re right!’.
What were the high and low points of the climb?
Highs: Easily the scenery – the Himalaya’s are breathtakingly beautiful with every corner you turn. The best thing about climbing is that the longer and harder you climb, the better the view! Another bonus was just having endless time to connect with people. Hours of walking means hours of conversation and it was so nice to learn about other people and the stories that had brought them to Base Camp.
Lows: Gagging every time I went for a wee in a compost toilet. That smell is really something else! Getting up at 6am in -20 with no running water and no shower for days on end is tough, especially when you have 10hrs of walking ahead of you and you just want to wash and put on some clean clothes!
"Pain is inevitable, suffering is optional"
What has been your biggest achievement to date?
I qualified for Team GB for the Triathlon European Championships last year. I think this was easily my biggest achievement purely because of how far I had come on my road bike. When you’re not very good at something it’s very easy to quit but I knew that it was a weakness so I spent hours on my bike determined to get better and stronger. There were a lot of tears and tantrums along the way but ultimately it paid off!
What is you training mantra?
There are two types of people – those that find an excuse and those that find a way!
A lot of things are hard but not many things are impossible and understanding the difference between the two is crucial in order to progress. There are some training days that are brutal and just feel horrendous on your body but that doesn’t mean you can’t do it, just grit your teeth a little harder and take comfort in the fact that what you put in is what you get back out!
What is your life mantra?
Pain is inevitable, suffering is optional.
In the moments that challenge us, it’s always easier to focus on the negative. The problem is that our reoccurring thoughts soon become our beliefs and our beliefs define the way we handle situations in everyday life. It’s impossible to live a positive life if you only focus on the negatives. Chin up!
Who or what is your biggest inspiration?
There is no one thing or one person that is my sole inspiration. Anybody who is just unapologetically them in whatever they do inspires me and those that never settle for second best. There’s always more to learn, more to see, more to understand, more to listen to and those that stay hungry to grow I think are pretty awesome humans.
"I inspire to make an impact, not just an income"
What is your definition of success?
Very often we measure our success by how much we earn and how many possessions we have, usually aiming for instant gratification. I just don’t believe that’s the way to quantify or remember my life’s biggest achievements. I think success is getting knocked down seven times and getting up eight. Never quitting or accepting anything less than what you’re worth.
Do you ever switch off? How?
Even if it’s just 30mins in the evening, I try to switch off from emails and social media. I don’t have TV in my bedroom and I leave my laptop in the front rom. Having even just a corner of space away from the daily stresses makes a huge difference.
Best piece of advice you’ve been given?
"A banana will ripen quicker when it's surrounded by other ripe bananas!"
Always make a conscious effort to surround yourself with positive, passionate and uplifting people who encourage you to be at you best!! Those people who have dreams, desire and ambition will always help you realise yours!!
Best piece of advice you can share?
Whenever you set a goal, make it a positive one. Rather than it being ‘I want to lose weight’ or ‘I want to stop doing X’, come at if from another angle, ‘I want to feel stronger’ or ‘I would like to add X to my week’. If it aligns with your values and allows you to feel like you are adding to your life rather than taking away, you’re more likely to stick to it and look forward to working towards it.
Your favourite place in London?
My home! When I leave my house I’m always on the go, always moving. Every day is filled with so many people and that’s exactly how I love it but nothing beats coming home, sinking into the sofa with a glass of wine and a good documentary.
Favourite BL Drink and why?
Easy – Kola+! Being a bit of an adrenaline junkie, caffeine is my go to for a quick pick me up so finding a healthier drink rather than coffee is just a massive win!
Laura is also concept director at Central London Cycle studio and Botanic Lab stockist One 10