“Ordinary” Women Make “Extra-Ordinary” Contributions

louise_adamson_1.jpgThere’s nothing special about Louise Adamson (pictured at right) and Pascale de Jong.

Except for the fact that they seem to constantly come up with new ways to 1) challenge themselves 2) create a sense of community, and 3) contribute to charity – usually all at the same time.

In 2007, they were one of only 16 two-women teams who took part in the grueling eight-day, 800-km Absa Cape Epic Mountain Bike race that takes place annually in South Africa. The rest of the field? A mere 1,288 men, also in paired in two-person teams.
“Our route was Knysna to Capetown during the wettest year on record,” says Adamson, “It was the toughest thing I’ve ever done….”

louise_adamson_2.jpgBesides completing the course, which included a total altitude gain of 16,000 meters and camping in tents along the way, Adamson and De Jong raised (through sponsorships), USD 6,000 for South Africa’s Starfish Foundation.

That experience whet their appetite for more: last year, they completed an Ironman triathlon. Yep. You read right – an IRONMAN. Or in their case, I guess it would be an IronWOMAN.

When they couldn’t find an Ironman event that was already organized and in which they could conveniently participate, they created their own and completed it in their home base Dubai.

The two have also taken part in Gulf For Good challenges, and organized a triathlon in Dubai.

So it’s hardly surprising that they’ve just launched a new not-for-profit website called UrbanUltra Women created and designed specifically to provide information for and about women interested in sporting activities in the UAE.

“We hope UrbanUltra Women will become ‘the’ place for women of all nationalities and levels of ability to find useful information about women-specific sports, clubs, events, news, health and nutrition, and reviews of specialised equipment that has been designed just for them,” Adamson explains.

“It’s simple and easy to get involved,” she says. “We invite women to contribute health or sports related articles from a professional point of view, share their experiences or organise community events. They can also join in the forums or create their own blogs. Or they may simply want to use the site as a resource to learn and/or find information on a particular sport. The level of involvement is up to them…”

In 2010, Adamson and De Jong intend to initiate an annual UrbanUltra Women event that will benefit less fortunate women and perhaps empower them by involving them in the event.

“We would like to create a meeting of minds, circumstance and understanding on a totally different level of involvement rather than simply donating money,” Adamson says. “ It would be an experience that would benefit both groups of women coming together to experience each other’s lives.”

Sounds good to me.

(Truth be told, all this saintly stuff from such a terrible twosome can sometimes be a bit tough to swallow… And it’s difficult to take seriously anyone whose alter-ego is a smurf. But I guess you gotta’ take the good with the bad eh Louise? 😉

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