get to know kate strong

Kate Strong, Presca Ambassador in front of bike in Bristol wearing Presca Core Cycling kit

Born and bred in South Wales Pontypridd, I was the eldest of two,  I didn't want to go to university, but my parents insisted. 

I studied engineering and if I'm going to do something, I'll do it properly. 

I've got a bachelor's first class honours degree in environmental engineering and a double masters in engineering management and mechanical engineering (which I also did in a French university so I’m fluent in French)

In my summer holidays, I worked in the Alps in France as a mountain bike guide & chalet maid, or in Spain as a scuba Divemaster, where I also learnt Spanish. 

After graduating, I travelled in Latin America and lived with families in Cuba & Guatemala and also worked in Mexico, and travelled all the way down to Chile and came back to the UK. 

I worked in aerospace for a very brief period of time and realised I'm not an engineer, so I emigrated with my then boyfriend to Australia, opened up a guest house, restaurant and also bought a subway franchise. I worked in hospitality for seven years. 

Our relationship broke down six days before our wedding. He left me and left me in financial debt.

This was the trigger for me to take up sport.

Triathlons were me putting me first because I hadn't for the previous nine years. Within 14 months I was age group long-distance world champion, and Australian age-group national champion in long- and standard-distance.  

In 2015, I competed in five world championships over different triathlon distances and also duathlon world championships. 

I eventually sold my business, ending that chapter and it was like having a blank canvas, I just didn't know where to start.

How do you redesign your life? 

I started from the bottom again. I went to a local cafe chain in Cardiff Bay and picked up a 0 hours contract, cleaning the toilets. I threw away my CV and just started with being my best in every moment. And slowly my confidence grew. Within four months I received a job offer to help out at a local pub.

And then I started playing a game; for every new job I got offered, would try to double my salary. It was three figures for an hour within a few months, and that’s when I also got into coaching.  

Sport wise I didn't want to continue competing against people and I also had an injury but I wanted to be able to keep pushing myself to be that top 1% of my life. World Records are a competition against yourself. 

I chose to attempt 24 hours on a static bike because no female. held that record, though there was a male equivalent. It was my nod to equality and a bit of activism. On my first attempt, I failed. I didn't achieve it because I didn't train, that was the short of it. It took me four years to have the courage to try again because I did it quite publicly and I wanted time to make sure that my motivation was not fuelled by ego, but by a desire to do my best.

So, last year, as I attempted the 24-hour record again, I thought that I'd also attempt the 1- and 12-hour records at the same time... and broke all three.

I'm always trying to find ways to create change but it's not a linear process. I'm cycling up to North Wales in August to volunteer for Project Seagrass. I'm working with Climategames so all the sport I'm doing is offsetting my carbon footprint. I write training programs for two children's charities so that people who raise money for them, have a proper training program. So I'm always finding ways in how to be a conscious activist.

Recently volunteered for the CIC called Houria in Bristol because I realised that I have certain privileges due to my background. Instead of me just reading books I decided to go and give back to that community in a healthy, holistic and supportive way and also learn deeper about white privilege and white saviourship.

The mantra “Today's the youngest will ever be and now's the time to start.” Has spurred me on, but first and foremost, integrity is what drives me. Do what I said I’ll do. Do what I know is the right way, however painful it is. It's quite a clean clinical way of living. As long as I'm doing my best, then everything else is forgiven. It's about making sure everyone wins. 

Compassion and empathy and that isn't just about people. That's about the trees, the animals, the plants. And curiosity, to make sure that I look at life anew every single day. I try to think with a youthful spirit. It takes away the complacency and arrogance of knowing more. Like if I was three years old, how would I look at this? 

Challenge 3000

On Monday 5th June 2023 (World Environment Day), Kate will embark on a 3,000 mile cycle around the coastline of England, Scotland & Wales. Stopping at 30 different locations visiting sustainability projects, hosting climate talks and engaging communities, councils and companies in workshops to mitigate climate change.

No action is too small and there’s no better time than now.

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