'The last descent and I can't let myself think it's in the bag. Anything could happen, take it easy, take no risks. Just get to the finish and win. 'The challenge and anticipation that pushes me to try harder. The obsessive urge to achieve. It's not all about winning. Why do I do it?'
Growing up in Bristol, Heather Dawe was 17 when she started running. Having fallen in to the teenage trap of smoking and drinking she resolved to do something about it, not knowing then where it would take her. A climber since her youth, an obsession with wild places and the mountains was engrained in her DNA. Moving to Leeds to study, she began to compete in fell races and mountain marathons, joking in the pub one night that she could race at the highest level. Being hit by a car doing over 40mph while cycling would have ended many athletes' dreams, but Dawe's drive pushed her even harder. Hard enough to make her pub joke a reality, hard enough to win Elite Mountain Marathons, to win the Three Peaks Cyclo-cross race and to complete the Bob Graham Round. Pushing harder still, she entered the Tour Divide - racing the 2745-mile route of the Continental Divide in North America as she sought to discover her physical - and emotional - limits.