She’s run across Africa (not once, but twice!), roller-skated across the Netherlands and cycled over 2000km from the UK to Italy, rock climbing along the way. Now Emma Timmis is in Australia doing her biggest adventure yet.
Travelling through outback Australia is tough in a car, so why would you even think about doing the 8,000km trip on one of these? And what is it anyway?
It’s called an elliptigo. And Emma Timmis, the crazy gal who’s riding it all the way from Western Australia to New South Wales, is a New Zealand-based, British-born adventure athlete.
Emma must get a lot of puzzled looks when she tells people what she’s riding because on her website she writes: “I guess the best way to think about it is to say it’s like a bike, but you stand up and use a running motion to make the wheels turn.”
Emma’s doing a LOT of that running motion during this challenge – she’s basically on the road from dawn till dusk every day to meet her target of 100kms a day. And she’ll be doing that for 75 days straight. So it’s just as well she’s an Elliptigo expert.
Only she’s not! Or at least she wasn’t.
As she told a reporter recently: “I’d only been on an elliptigo once before planning this challenge, so this will be a new skill for me.”
How on earth did she come up with this idea?
Like so many serious runners, Emma has had some concerns about her knees. So when she discovered a wonderful machine that would let her ‘run’ without the impact, it was a no-brainer to make it her mode of transport on her next mega challenge – ElliptigOz!
Emma left on her marathon journey on 25 August, passing the 5,002.3kms mark on the 7 October. If you’re wondering why we’re being so precise about that distance it’s because that’s the point where she became the unofficial world record holder for the longest Elliptigo journey in one country!! Yoohoo!
And now she’s just putting the last 2,200kms to bed.
We had the opportunity to catch up with Emma when she arrived in Melbourne last Friday. And you won’t be surprised to hear she’s SUPER fit and tanned and busting with energy and enthusiasm. She’s got loads of stories about the people she’s met, the kindness she’s been shown – and some of the weird and hilarious things that have happened along the way.
Emma stirs up curiosity every time she rides into a new town. People can’t wait to ask her about what she’s doing, check out the weird contraption she’s riding, and find out where she’s off to next – and when they hear her incredible story many are inspired to support her. Emma was super excited to be able to hand over her purpose-made One Girl moneybox of donations she’s collected along the way.
Completing this challenge will almost certainly see Emma’s name go into the Guinness Book of Records and that means she can put a big tick beside her physical goal for the trip.
But if you’re Emma Timmis, elliptigo-ing (possibly not in your dictionary) 8,000km across Australia wearing a school dress for part of that journey, is just a starting point.
She has also set herself three additional goals…
Emma is hoping her epic journey will inspire a massive $10,000 in donations for One Girl. That’s enough to send 33 girls – a classroom full of girls – to school for a year! And she’s well on the way having raised nearly $7,500 already.
As we chattered with Emma she told us that One Girl is the perfect organisation for her to support because it fits so well with the two things she’s passionate about – Africa and supporting girls. On her website she says:
“I’ve chosen a charity that has very similar principles and beliefs to me. I’m very passionate about Africa and have been ever since my first visit in 1995. Each time I visit, I return wanting to do more to help the incredible people that live there and unfortunately have less opportunity than me. Education is key to improving the lives of people living in poverty.”
Her social goal
Emma might be passing through Australia at speed, but she wants to make sure she has an impact here as well.
“When I was in high school, I almost went down the wrong path, but I was fortunate that I found a sport to focus my energy in a productive direction. On my journey across Australia, I will be going into schools to give talks to young people about adventure and how participation in sport teaches us so many life lessons and valuable skills.”
Her personal goal
￼￼Talking to schools groups isn’t just a powerful way to inspire kids. It’s also a way Emma can achieve her personal goal for this journey.
“For many years I’ve had a fear of public speaking. My desire to try and make an impact on others has driven me to face this fear. When I go into schools to speak with students I’ll be pushing myself out of my comfort zone.
It’s hard to believe this extraordinary, passionate, confident and articulate gal finds public speaking a challenge – but she’s definitely not letting the way she feels inside hold her back. If you’re reading this and thinking you might like to have her chat at your school or business, get in touch with her on her Facebook page.
We’re constantly amazed by what people get up to when they Do It In A Dress. Emma is clearly a super athlete (that was abundantly clear when we met!). By the end of this trip she will have achieved something extraordinary, and we feel so proud that she has chosen to partner with us as she does that.
But every single Do It In A Dress-er is doing their own version of something extraordinary – it doesn’t matter if you’re breaking world records or playing trivia in a dress with your mates, holding a bake sale or rallying students at your school or uni – you’re taking action that will change the lives of some of the world’s most vulnerable girls. And that’s what’s extraordinary.
Emma’s got some great videos and photos on her Facebook page. And if you live in the south-east part of Australia and want to meet her face-to-face, she’d love to see you! Check out this list of places she expects to be on each day of her trip (things often change, so if you’re keen, get in touch with her to confirm her route).
And check out her fundraising page here – we’re cheering her on as she closes in on achieving her goals – both in completing the staggering 8000km journey, to hitting that $10,000 fundraising target: https://fundraise.onegirl.org.au/emmatimmis