Episode 168

Mel Nicholls: Never stop dreaming, keep on believing

Mel Nicholls is one of a kind and despite three strokes in her early 20s, Mel has vowed to never stop dreaming big. She has represented Great Britain at two Paralympics in para athletics, switched to Para cycling before setting her eyes on a 3rd Paralympics in Paris, this time in Para triathlon. Mel has hand-cycled around the Faroe Islands, from Lands End to John O'Groats as well as all around Great Britain. Her passion and enthusiasm for life is infectious.

You'll hear:

06:30 Mel talks about her background, her love for the outdoors as a child and how watching the Beijing paralympics inspired her to find out what she could do in sport after her second stroke.

08:30 Within 15 months of starting wheelchair racing, Mel was competing around the world. She got an unexpected call-up to the London Paralympics a month out and took part in her first international event at the Games. She continued to Rio on the track and then took a step back to focus on marathons and longer distance. 'Seeing where I could go with the marathon was exciting'

10:30 How she got into hand-cycling and para cycling.

12:30 The move to Para Triathlon and how she got into that, despite ultra cycling being her absolute passion. How she ended up on the start line of a triathlon.

18:30 The pressure she put on herself in her first triathlon. And how she ended up doing a World Series Paratriathlon race in Swansea as her second ever triathlon. 'I'd do one more she said.' And then from there she got involved in the British Paratriathlon team.

26:30 Balancing her need and thirst for adventure with being on a high performance programme and the different pressures.

31:30 We talk a bit about the Pan Celtic race - Mel was the first hand-cyclist to do it in 2022.

36:00 Mel's cycling adventure around the Faroe Islands. What appealed, why did she go there, how was it? 'not many people cycle the Faroe Islands at all, let alone hand cycle!' The kind people who made an impression on her and why she came wanting to say 'yes' to every opportunity. 'if you're approachable and you smile at people, they want to smile back'.

41:30 Having trust in human nature and trying to be open and take time to speak to people and have those conversations in the street. 'You can easily make someone's day by stopping and chatting and talking.'

42:30 Advice for getting back from being at rock bottom, whether after a big injury, a huge health set-back or something else. 'It's your life and you have to find the way to do something' There's nothing you can't do, you just have to find a different different way of doing it.'

48:30 What are Mel's dreams now? I'm just going to keep the dreams and make them bigger and bigger and bigger.

Find out more about this week's guest:

Mel Nicholls Instagram

Mel Nicholls website

Come join me at the Shropshire 80km festival. FYI I'm doing the half marathon!

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About the Podcast

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Inside Tri Show
Helen Murray brings you awesome interviews from triathlon and beyond

About your host

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Helen Murray

Helen has been working in triathlon for a decade as an athlete, coach and broadcaster.

Helen hosts the Inside Tri Show podcast bringing you awesome interviews from triathlon and beyond