Sarah Gerrish

Tell us a little bit about yourself...

Hello! I’m Sarah, founder and curator of the WWW Community. Originally from the East Coast of Scotland, but Cumbria is where I now call home. I go by many labels; the most reoccurring being mum, architect, runner & (year round) swimmer.

I often describe myself as a jack of all, master of none…

I predominantly spend my time running around the Lake District Fells or swimming in the local bodies of water, but I also enjoy riding a variety of bikes, climbing & yoga… when I can!

I’m always keen for trying new things and love how my network of adventure buddies has grown since the Community began… Here’s to more adventures! Big & small.

When did your passion for adventure / the outdoors begin?

As a child my passions lay in dance and ‘organised’ sport, namely netball.

Growing up in a largely urban area my early introduction to outdoor activities were through a school trip to an outdoor education centre where I still have fond memories of raft building and kayaking.

When I moved to The Lake District in my early teens I lived, for 5 years, completely unaware of the landscape on my doorstep. The world of ‘the outdoors’ came later than most for me when, in my 20’s, I met my husband and was introduced to rock climbing.

After having my daughter in 2009 I entered the triathlon scene. This was when I discovered outdoor swimming and got back on a bike for the first since my early teens. Moving back to Cumbria a few years later I started to discover the joys of the tarns, meres and fells in the locality and my outdoor endeavours slowly transitioned off road.

What has been your biggest challenge to date?

My biggest challenge… that’s a pretty tricky question to answer. I tend to be one of those people (in a lot of scenarios) who just gets their head down, cracks on and then deals with the consequences afterwards. However, looking back; having Cancer at fifteen years old definitely resulted in a lasting trauma that I really only became aware of much later down the line and it definitely had a major and lasting impact on my self-confidence. In the throws of healing I then became a mother. These were two very distinct periods of time where my notion of who I was, was thrown into a bit of turmoil. Coming back from that has probably mentally been my biggest challenge.

The years studying my Masters in Architecture was also a very challenging time and it was during this period that I created the WWW community. It was a tough both mentally and physically; between studying, working, commuting, family life and trying to maintain some kind of social life / playtime. The latter being the sacrifice. My confidence again took a bit of a battering. This all came at a time in my life when, from societies expectations, you feel like you should be getting it together. The WWW community was a great anchor though and has been a space for me to grow. I’m pretty proud of myself for how far I’ve come. It wasn’t too long ago that the outdoors was completely alien to me and I wouldn’t have even dreamed of doing the things I’ve had the opportunity to do. That period of time, although a bit of a sleep deprived blur, has instilled in me resilience which is pretty transferable in my outdoor pursuits.

My biggest challenge physically, well with many of the personal challenges, events or races I take on I try to push my comfort zone that little bit further, particularly (and currently) with my running. At the time, my first ever 10k race was a huge challenge physically, much like my first 50mile ultra. Its all relative to where you are at that given time and I don’t think any of those challenges are less valid than others. They are all steppingstones to improvement. I’ve often heard the saying ‘it never gets easier, you just get faster’ and I think that is quite relatable.

What core value do you try to apply in your outdoor endeavours?

My core value is to have and show respect. It encompasses so many things, from the people you meet to the landscape that you are in. Having respect, I think fosters a deeper appreciation and a need / want to protect.

What three words do you associate with being outdoors?

Escapism, connection & friendship

What does the Wonderful Wild Women Community mean to you?

The Wonderful Wild Women Community has genuinely been life changing for me. It has opened up so many doors to experience and brought so many incredible people into my life!

Deep down I think we are all a bit Wild and Wonderful!

The ‘Wonderful’ element for me is about accepting and realising our self-worth – often there can be a negative judgement from society towards females who have confidence or for put themselves first, but I believe it’s really important to allow yourself that time and care, so you can go on doing the amazing day to day things that you do, and in turn take care of those responsibilities which are often the reasons for neglecting our own needs in the first place.

The ‘Wild’ element is much more connected in my love of the outdoors. Whether you have a more holistic and spiritual connection with nature, you see the outdoors as a natural playground to push your limits in, a chosen sport or you are somewhere in between… I believe we all need that time to be wild, disconnect from our ‘real lives’ and discover ourselves and abilities.

I really think all women possess elements of wonderfulness and wildness; they are just all so different and the community, for me, is a place for all those differences and strengths to be accepted, acknowledged and not judged – giving space for connection and growth with ourselves and others.

Outdoor Credentials :

Outdoor First Aid qualified

England Athletics – Leadership in Running for Fitness