Rutland adventurer Sarah Outen is busy gearing up for the next stage of her round-the-world expedition.
But the 28-year-old admits her health could be her biggest challenge as she bids to circumnavigate the globe using human power alone.
Sarah, from Oakham, is just over half way through her journey London2London: Via the World, after completing her 3,750-mile row across the North Pacific, from Japan to Alaska, in September last year.
She hopes to start her next stage, a 1,400-mile kayak trip across the Aleutian Islands to mainland Alaska, in early May but is still suffering from the effects of pneumonia which she was diagnosed with after finishing her last stage.
However, Sarah is determined to overcome her illness and get back in the boat to continue her challenge.
Speaking to us on Tuesday, she said: “My most challenging thing is my health.
“Since catching pneumonia I’ve become allergic to lots of things and it’s really knocked me back and affected my training through the autumn. I’ve had colds which have lasted a week every month.
“I’m not where I want to be physically but I’m hoping that over the next three months I’ll improve and become a picture of health before I set off again.”
Sarah was greeted to cheers, banners and beeping horns when she arrived in Adak in the Aleutian Islands upon completing her row across the Pacific, in which she became the first woman to row solo from Japan to Alaska.
She described her 150 days at sea as “intense” but said her journey was as beautiful as it was brutal, having capsized five times in strong storms but also coming across a range of wildlife including whales, dolphins and sharks.
Sarah said: “I was a little bit wobbly stepping onto land but it was such a relief to be safe and I had a lovely welcome.
“It was really tough at times, out at sea on your own.
“There were times when it was really stressful because you can have days when you’re not making any progress at all because of the weather and with it being too rough. But when there is good weather you know you really have to make the most of it.
“The wildlife I saw was lovely and the some of the sunsets were beautiful.”
Despite her training programme being affected by her illness, Sarah has been spending a week per month in north Wales working on her kayaking skills with team mate Justin Curgenven who will accompany her during her next stage in the Aleutian Islands.
She is also doing cross training and strength conditioning training to improve her core strength.
Sarah’s boat and what she calls her travel partner ‘Happy Socks’ is also being prepared and kitted out ready for the journey.
Speaking about her next venture, Sarah said: “It’s going to be quite daunting as well as being exciting.
“I’m not sure how long it will take me or what I’ll come across.
“The whole journey has been different to what I envisaged but that’s the magic of it. You really are going out into the unknown.”
When she arrives in mainland Alaska, Sarah will get on her bike to cycle across Canada and the United States before tackling the North Atlantic in 2015.
All going well, Sarah hopes to complete her 30,000-mile across the world challenge in summer 2016, five years after starting her journey at Tower Bridge in London in April 2011.
She has been delighted with the support she has had from her friends, family, sponsors and fiancée Lucy Allen, who she got engaged to while at sea in August last year. She has also shared her experiences with school children, giving a number of talks across the area.
Sarah said: “It was great being back in Rutland for Christmas. The response I’ve had from people has been lovely and there were many people who were pleased to see me back ok.
“Lucy is a bit concerned I might be eaten by a bear on my next journey but she has been very supportive.
“It’s amazing how your perspective on life changes when you find someone special.”
Sarah’s challenge is raising funds for WaterAid, Motor Neurone Disease, Coppafeel and the Jubilee Sailing Trust.
To follow Sarah’s progress, visit her website www.sarahouten.com