Meet Laura (the Explorer) Kennington, motivational speaker, cyclist, swimmer, runner and adventurer. Once stuck in a boring 9-5 office job, Laura has now found a career which means she can work full-time doing what she loves.
Laura has pedalled for pancakes, competed in the Channel Islands Triathlon, cycled across Ireland and attempted to kayak across the entire length of the Volga River in Russia! We asked Laura about some of her past adventures and where she intends to explore next.
You seem to have so many talents, tell us a bit about yourself.
I’m an adventure athlete, motivational speaker and ice cream enthusiast! I love exploring new places using various means of human-powered travel and I’m a strong believer in the positive impact that adventure and sport can have on children and adults alike. If there’s one thing that I’m certain of, it’s that we’re all capable of much more than we realise.
What got you into exploring??
I grew up on a farm and exploring the countryside was very much part of my childhood. I then got a bit disconnected from that side of things as I grew older. In my early twenties, bowing to social pressure to be a “responsible adult”, I found myself caught up in the rat race and working for an insurance company. Thankfully, the city job made me so utterly miserable I was desperate to find a new plan! After realising that office life wasn’t definitely for me, I qualified as a Personal Trainer and this sparked a curiosity about what the human body could do… it all escalated from there!
What’s been your most challenging adventure to date??
This is a tricky one to answer because each adventure has had its own unique challenges. For example, the Channel Islands Triathlon involved a lot of logistics and a couple of different support crews. However, for sheer physical brutality, I think FuerteventuRun might be the current winner! I was fairly new to running when I decided it was a good idea to run 100 miles with my friend Tessa. After battling the fierce heat, hills and sand dunes for 4 days we were both in a lot of pain and my feet were annihilated.
You planned on kayaking the entire length of the Volga river in Russia back in 2015, it got cancelled after 6 weeks, what happened??
The trip went unexpectedly viral and unfortunately the phenomenal publicity caused some safety issues. Sadly, we just weren’t able to mitigate the risks that my new found celebrity status brought with it. It was quite the plot twist!
We’ve seen you using our Run kit and Bike kit when training on social media (@laurakairos), what’s involved in your training??
I always aim to do at least 1 strength session and 1 yoga session each week. The rest tends to vary depending on what challenge i’m getting ready for but is usually a mix of either trail running, road cycling or river kayaking. Outdoors is best! I’m currently prepping for a big cycling challenge so naturally the emphasis is a bit more on cycling at the moment.
Do you have any favourite apps for training??
I track all of my training with my Suunto watch which syncs up to Movescount and also Strava. It’s a handy way of keeping tabs on my heart rate zones and weekly mileage. I love the Ordnance Survey maps app for discovering/planning new routes when I’m somewhere new. I’m also a huge fan of Yoga Studio - I travel a lot for talks, etc so this helps me fit in my weekly dose of yoga, even if I’m in a hotel room!
What advice would you give to someone wanting to become an adventure athlete??
Find your own voice and don’t be intimidated by being a beginner - we all have to start somewhere. Like any potential new career, I think it’s a good idea to gain some experience and try it on for size before you decide to go full steam ahead. I think it’s also important to appreciate that it might take a while to build up and there’s a lot of learning to be done along the way. I didn’t monetise my trips overnight; in the early days I supplemented my income with various other jobs - this career very much started as a side hustle!
What's your favourite motivational quote??
“May your choices reflect your hopes and not your fears” - Nelson Mandela.
Do you have any exciting challenges coming up??
On May 14th I begin cycling from the Shetlands Islands to Norway! The route hugs the North Sea and covers 6000km - it’s a challenge I’ve named The Great North Ride!
To learn more about Laura, see: https://www.lauraexplorer.com/