Following your dreams - female adventurer

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Beth French is an ultra-marathon swimmer and environmentalist and is an inspiration to anyone who wants to achieve their dreams.

Beth was struck with glandular fever at 10 and didn’t fully recover- her adolescence being marred by periods of immune dysfunction and exhaustion. It was not until she was 17 and wheelchair bound that she was diagnosed with ME.

Beth now lives without symptoms and spent years regaining trust in her body and her ability to challenge herself. She has travelled and studied abroad, learning indigenous alternatives to healthcare and cultural perspectives on life. She ordained as a Buddhist nun.

Beth says “So far my life has taught me that unless you take as many steps as you think you can, how are you ever going to learn that it really is only a tantalizing few more to get where you want to go?


Episode highlights

  • Childhood interest in swimming. Beth remembers looking out to sea and thinking she could swim forever.

  • Beth’s diagnosis of ME at 17 years old when she was in a wheelchair for 12 months.

  • Swimming - became therapeutic and mediative. When Beth’s body was falling apart water reduced aches.

  • People always ask how she became better – used rebellious energy at 17 years old to push through and lit a fire of fury to get better. Beth went on to read everything about nutrition and health and indigenous healthcare (Hawaii and Thailand) and different takes on anatomy (found health whilst abroad)

  • Beth fell in love with her body again whilst in Hawaii swimming in the Pacific Ocean and managed to swim over 3 hours straight.

  • Beth ordained as a Buddhist monk in Thailand. Beth felt if she didn't address her mind, she would return to illness - there is always an underlying threat.

  • Beth now sees ME as her biggest teacher as opposed to greatest burden.

  • Beth now values every moment body teaks and hurts and have an amazing relationship with body and food.

  • Beth spends time in the space of getting body and mind in harmony – she needs to spend the time to do it. Beth now gets into the water and is able to let go and not worry about the outcome or the destination.

  • Balancing of being a single mum with a child with autism.

  • Swimming to France was testing the boundary of what is possible.

  • Having a child shouldn't stop us having an adventure. Beth decided to swim to France when her son, Dylan, was only 2 – trained when he was asleep and at pre-school.

  • Film – Ocean 7 – how it started. Once Beth swam the English channel Beth looked for other challenges.

  • Oceans 7 is the toughest challenge for a swimmer. Only 4-5 people have completed it. Beth wanted to be the first to complete it all within 1 year.

  • Film following Beth's Ocean 7 challenge comes out in May called Against the tide. Not a story about swimming, more about motherhood. Will come out through www.ourscreen.com. Community approach and if enough people in local area request, local cinema will show this. It will later be on Amazon and probably Netflix.

  • Beth wants children to look at adventure and not assume it is Bear Grylls and rather to look at alternatives like Beth.

Relevant links

Against the Tide Film Trailer or visit their website

Beth’s website, Instagram, Facebook

The film will be released in the UK in May via Our Screen - sign up for screenings