My guest on this week’s show is Karen Darke, who will be sharing the Alchemist way to being an Olympic Gold Medallist in the Paralympic hand-cycling in Rio 2016.

First Impressions

I first met Karen Darke ten years ago when I was a marketing advisor on a contract with a local enterprise company. The meeting was about her book, and I was told she would be in a wheelchair.  I called and made an appointment to meet at her house.

When I arrived there was no answer. Having parked on the drive, I could see the garage door was open, so I walked down the drive to see if she was around. I heard a noise behind me and there was a chirpy “hello”. I turned to see a mud-splattered woman on a low hand bike. 

“Been waiting long? I’ve been out on the hills” she said, as she parked the bike in the garage and lifted herself into a waiting wheelchair.  

From Gold Research to Olympic Gold Medallist

Since that first meeting, I have followed her journey to becoming an Olympic Silver Medallist in London and then on to the Gold in Rio. Our paths crossed again this year when she agreed to be a speaker our Reasons and Results event. 

Karen is a modern-day ‘Alchemist’: an adventurer, athlete, speaker and author. Her purpose is about inspiring and impacting, about turning challenge into an opportunity and turning ‘mud’ into ‘gold’. Her career started as a Geologist researching gold in the Bolivian Andes; however, a life-changing accident that left her paralysed led her away from being a ‘rock-doctor’ to winning Paralympic Gold in the sport of Paralympic hand-cycling in Rio 2016. 

Like all journeys, it was not a straight line. 

Overcoming All Obstacles

She has experienced some extreme lows on the roller-coaster of life and knows how trauma, stress and life events can lead to fear, pain and under-performance.  Karen was always the adventurer; that was what caused the accident that put her on this path.  

However, she does not let her disability define or stop her desire to push the boundary of what is possible. That desire has also created some highs, exploring and extending the limits of possibility physically, mentally and emotionally. She has skied across icecaps, kayaked at extreme latitudes of the planet, and hand-cycled over the world’s biggest mountains.

The Olympic Alchemist ‘s Way To Gold

So how did Karen Darke merge Alchemy with her Olympic Gold? Well, the Gold in Rio was the 79th medal for Britain, and 79 being the elemental number for gold led to Karen creating Quest 79: Find Your Inner Gold. The project had Karen cycling 7 continents in 9 iconic rides, raising £79K for Spinal Injuries and encouraging people to step out of their comfort zones and discover passion, purpose or ability: their ‘inner gold’. 

Karen views life as an adventure, and she embraces all its experiences as opportunities to learn and grow. 

I hope you enjoy discovering the alchemist way to Olympic gold medallist in this conversation with Karen. For more information follow her links below and check out her latest book Quest 79, Find Your Inner Gold.


Karen Darke’s Social Links:


Christmas doesn’t have to be about frenzied shopping, over-eating and blobbing out in front of TV watching meaningless re-runs. How would you feel about Christmas if it were an annual opportunity to give thanks for the highs and lows of the year just gone, and reveal the wisdom you need to prepare you for whatever the year ahead brings your way?

Are you ready to create a new way of celebrating Christmas? Something that can be personal to you or shared with friends and family? Something sacred and special that adds meaning to your life throughout the year ahead?

This is the “Sacred Christmas” Adventure

Sacred Christmas was a special extension of our November 2020 Spirit-duality event. Which at the time of writing this footnote is still available. HERE


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