SAS: Who Dares Wins is a tough show, why did you agree to do it?
I actually said no a couple of times before I said yes because I wasn’t sure! I think for me it was like a new adventure that was completely putting me out of my depth and out of my scope in terms of what I'd normally do. When they asked me questions like, "Have you ever had a gun to your head? Have you ever had a dog bark in your face?”, of course I haven’t! I had no idea how I’d handle that kind of thing. To me, it's a challenge, a physical challenge more than anything else.
The show is part of Stand Up To Cancer, was that an important aspect for you?
Yeah, totally and it actually played on my mind while I was out there. I had a couple of things in my head. For me, I felt like I wanted to do it to prove that women are strong, full stop and that you're not going to tell us that women aren't. There was one mountain we had to climb and keep walking and I was going to make sure that I got up there with the guys because actually, I'm going to prove that women can go toe to toe with men. That was my motivation. But then when it got mentally tough I had to remember what this was for, some people would never get the chance to do what I do because of their illness. Although it was brutal, it was an opportunity to do something amazing for other people.
People will look at you and assume, given your profession, that you're physically fit. How did you find the course physically and also mentally?
Physically I found it hard, but good hard. What I found really hard was being an athlete my eating regime is precious. Eating a few meals is crucial for me. I didn't really take into account that training's great, but as soon as day four or five came with no food, lack of food and lack of everything, apart from fresh air, I was struggling. But physically I think I held my own quite well, to be fair. Mentally I found it really tough, I’m not a hard person, I’m strong, but I’m not hard.
What do you mean by that?
I would say mentally if someone tells me to keep going and don’t stop, I can cope with that. But when you mix in people screaming in your ear, the lack of food and sleep, that’s another level!
How did you find the other celebs?
I got on really well with a lot of them. They were a really nice bunch of people. There was a moment I clashed with the DS because Camilla was at the back and struggling and I waited for her. I made a real connection with her and Andrea and I felt like I was doing it with other people who were like minded. That’s the team mentality in me, but as soon as people started to drop off and the team got smaller, that’s when it got hard for me.
Who did you end up being paired with?
I got paired with Dev. Everytime one of us needed the loo the other one had to go too, and he kept getting up in the night so of course I got no sleep because he always needed a wee!
How did you find being that personal with someone you’ve only just met?
It didn’t really bother me because I’m used to it with my teammates. I needed my sleep so I had to hold my patience because I was getting ratty. He would go to the loo two or three times a night and when you only have four hours sleep that leaves you with nothing to go on. But you learn to poo next to each other and get naked. I mean, we all started the show saying we’d never get naked and then we had the helicopter challenge on the first day so within hours we were all naked trying to get our dry kit on! Then you have to go to the loo next to each other, but that actually became the social, the women would all go at the same time and have a chat!
It sounds brutal!
Honestly, I don't think the show will get across just how tough it really was. I think because people think we're celebrities that we're not going to get beasted, but we got totally beasted! I mean, that parade ground was covered in gravel and glass and you’re crawling through it, it was brutal!
They put you through some seriously tough challenges during the week, like falling from a helicopter into water, how did you find all that?
So tough! I mean, it’s like nothing I’ve ever done in my whole life. But more the fact that because you don't want to let yourself down. You want to really push yourself. The stuff I did that week, I've never ever done in my life, so a lot of it was the unknown. I remember when we started and had to fall out of the helicopter, I wanted to hang on to Ant and be like, “Oh my God, no! I can’t do it”. But you can’t think you almost have to switch off your mind and just say, "What will be, will be." Then you just have to go. But I found myself
being so scared for a lot of the week, to be honest! We had to abseil down a wall which might look easy, but when it's wet, you’re shoes are wet and arms were shaking, it’s brutal! I got so cold and as an athlete you’re so used to being in control, so when you’re put into a position like that you feel so out of control, it’s crazy and terrifying. You lose yourself!
What did you make of it as a woman going into that world?
It's a really tough world to go into regardless of whether you’re male or female and I think if you're up for it, then you should give it a shot.
Did you learn anything about yourself during the course?
I’d just walked away from playing for my country because I was just not at my best, I was exhausted. So it took a hell of a lot in me to do it, because I wasn't at my strongest mentally and physically. I knew it was going to go one of two ways, because I was so tired. But I know what I can do physically, I know I can hold my own against most men. Therefore it didn’t surprise me that I held my own.