Lizanne Van Vuuren - Episode 017

“One of the most refreshing things was to just ‘be’ and not have to worry about anything”

Business Woman. World Record Holder. Osteopath. English Rose. South African Lioness. Role Model. Charmer. Coxless Crew Member. Lady Leader.

Imagine, one night you are watching a documentary on Netflix and are so inspired by it and then a few weeks later you are actually speaking to a person from that documentary on a Podcast you host…..?! The world we live in these days and our access to people is quite amazing!

The simple fact that nobody had ever accomplished what these girls were embarking on doing, highlights how extreme the task at hand was. Four girls, attempting an 8,446 mile row from San Francisco, United States, to Cairns, Australia, across the Pacific Ocean. Just the idea of that is mind blowing in itself!

Our guest this week, Lizanne, was born in a small town, Zeerust, South Africa, which straddles the border of Botswana. Born in a traditional Afrikaans family, she was 9 years old when her parents decided to move to the UK. Lizanne and her brothers trotted along in excitement and anticipation of the adventure ahead.

Her parents genetically passed down musical skills and an interest in medicine, but more importantly, they made her feel that anything in the world was possible and encouraged her to do anything she wanted.

After training in London to become an Osteopath, life took her back on a journey to her native South Africa. After completing her first half-ironman race, she realised that you can literally do anything you want with the right mindset, which was the kind of trajectory she needed.

Her real adventure, of epic proportions, began in a serendipitous sort of way by replying to a tweet on Twitter. Roll forward a few months and she was selected and in training to be part of the team, of an expedition which had been 3.5 years in the making.

In the Podcast we find out what makes Lizanne tick as an individual, attempting to gain 12kg’s of weight in 3 months, sunrises on the ocean, listening to pods of whales, 2 hour sleep rotations, food rationing, being sea sick for 97 days straight and dealing with 30 foot waves!

These ‘ordinary’ women managed to finish a completely ‘unordinary’ task. You can only really be in awe of them for their accomplishments.

Lizanne shares her part of the story so charmingly and graciously with us. We hope you enjoy this conversation as much as we did.

Let’s find out what it means for Lizanne Van Vuuren to be Ridiculously Human.

Your fellow beings

Craig and Gareth


Background, Context & Reference

Connect with Lizanne:








Coxless Crew Website

Coxless Crew Donations

Losing Sight of Shore – Netflix Documentary

Lizanne’s Blog from the trip

Hashtag #mypacific

Discussion Links

Cape Town, water crisis



Rising salt levels in water

Doris, their boat across the Pacific

Rustenburg, South Africa

Zeerust, South Africa


Cape Town

Stellenbosch University




Mafikeng, South Africa

Ted Talk by Meg Jay – Why 30 is not the new 20

East London, Half-Ironman


Newbury, Berkshire

Farnborough, UK

Brecon Beacon, Wales

Hawaii, USA

Samoa, Samoa

Cairns, Australia

Psychometric Tests



Hot Buttons

90 minutes sleep cycles

Hawaii yacht club

Virgin Active, Greenpoint

Aladdin, Movie

Lion King, Movie

Sound of Music, Movie

Les Mis, Movie

702 Radio, South Africa

People Discussed:


Chrissie Wellington, Triathlete

Laura Penhaul, Coxless Crew Team Leader

Emma Mitchell, Coxless Crew Team Member

Natalia Cohen, Coxless Crew Team Member

Isabel Burnham, Coxless Crew Team Member

Meg Dyos, Coxless Crew Team Member

Keith Goddard, Team Sports Psychologist

James Lawrence, Ironman Cowboy – 50 Ironman races, in 50 days, in 50 States

Tony Humphreys, Logistics Manager

Professor Tim Noakes

Book – The Real Meal Revolution by Tim Noakes

Peter van Kets – Someone who rowed part of the Pacific

Music By

The Bambuseae Rhythm Section – Check them out here


Right Hook Request


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