Tori Murden McClure - 1st woman and 1st American to ski to the geographic South Pole (1989), and 1st woman to row solo across the Atlantic Ocean (1999).

Tori is perhaps best-known as the first woman and first American to row a boat solo across the Atlantic Ocean, having accomplished the feat in 1999 after 81 days at sea.    A decade earlier, she became the first woman and first American to ski to the geographic South Pole during a 50-day, 750-mile expedition.   Tori is author of the memoir, A Pearl in the Storm: How I Found My Heart in the Middle of the Ocean, which details her life and journey across the Atlantic.    The book is the basis of a stage musical, called, Row, which made its world premiere at the prestigious Williamstown Theatre Festival in Massachusetts in the summer of 2021.   New episodes of the Tough Girl Podcast go live every Tuesday at 7am UK time - Hit the subscribe button so you don’t miss out.    Support the mission to increase the amount of female role models in the media. Visit and subscribe - super quick and easy to do and it makes a massive difference. Thank you.   Show notes
  • Who is Tori
  • Growing up all over the east coast of the United States
  • Spending a lot of time outside as a kid
  • Having an intellectually disabled brother
  • Bullying that she and her brother experienced in the past
  • Going to Smith Collage and playing basketball
  • Meeting Rita Benson who had been at Smith since World War II
  • Learning to row and to ski
  • Skiing to the South Pole a few years later
  • Getting a degree in psychology
  • Working in the National Outdoor Leadership School in Alaska
  • Ending up at Harvard Divinity School
  • More details about her skiing journey
  • Falling in love with travelling in a very remote country
  • Applying for the expedition team to the South Pole at the age of 24
  • The 750-mile journey across Antarctica
  • Psychological challenges she experienced
  • Being the first woman and the first American to reach the Geographic South Pole
  • Having a cassette recorder and cassette tapes
    Solitude as the biggest challenge for them
  • Talking more about Harvard Divinity School
  • Wholeness in seeing nature
  • Changes to her after the challenges and adventures
  • Finishing Divinity School and returning to Louisville, Kentucky,
  • Working with homeless people in Boston
  • Going to law school
  • Working for the mayor of Louisville
  • Training rowing for the Olympic team
  • Being too slow to make the Olympic team
  • Signing up to do the Atlantic rowing race
  • Being asked by a sponsor if she would consider rowing solo across the Atlantic Ocean
  • Getting into more detail about the sponsorship in 1998
  • Being hit by the hurricane Danielle
  • Hurricanes Dania and Earl
  • Having an overwhelming sense of failure
  • Spending almost a year working for Muhammad Ali
    Creating the Muhammad Ali Center
  • Being lifted up by Muhammad when she was broken
  • The difference between having a growth mindset and a fixed mindset
  • “Far better it is to dare mighty things, to win glorious triumphs, even though checkered by failure, than to take rank with those poor spirits who neither enjoy much nor suffer much, because they live in the gray twilight that knows neither victory nor defeat.” - Theodore Roosevelt
  • Her fears on her second journey
  • Hurricane Lenny - first hurricane in recorded history to travel 1000 miles west-east
  • Getting stuck out in the middle of nowhere for weeks
  • Her book: A Pearl in the Storm: How I Found My Heart in the Middle of the Ocean
  • Meeting and falling in love with her husband, Mac McClure
  • Adventures in her life at the moment
  • Final words of advice
  Social Media   Website:   Instagram: @torimurden   Facebook:
Twitter: @toriposu
  Book -  A Pearl in the Storm: How I Found My Heart in the Middle of the Ocean 

More from Tough Girl Podcast

  1. 37:38Julie Bradley - Author of “Escape from the Ordinary”, retired from the US Army at 40, to sail around the world for 8 years with her husband.Oct 04, 2022
  2. 40:27Molly Huddle - Long distance runner, 2x Olympian, Co-author of “How She Did It” - A high performance guide for female distance runners.Sep 27, 2022
  3. 48:49Anyika Onuora - Team GB Athlete, 3x Olympian. Multiple world medalist. Author of My Hidden Race.Sep 20, 2022
  4. 43:46Siobhan Daniels - 60+ Pro-age & anti-ageism campaigner. Retirement Rebel. Writing about her motorhome adventures around Great BritainSep 13, 2022
  5. 34:26Abby McQueeney Penamonte - Registered Dietitian and Nutrition Coach. Helping women to fuel their bodies, improve their relationship with food, fitness, and body image.Sep 06, 2022
  6. 01:01:02Sabrina Pace-Humphreys - Co-founder of Black Trail Runners and running Britain’s most brutal race - the Spine Race 286 miles non-stop!Aug 30, 2022
  7. 55:18Sophie Etheridge - Disabled long distance open water swimmer and the founder of the Facebook group Adaptive/Disabled Open Water Swimmers (ADOWS).Aug 23, 2022
  8. 44:14Meaghan Hackinen - Ultra-endurance cyclist - Trans Am Bike Race, NorthCape4000, and Paris-Brest-Paris brevet finisher, as well as the 2019 24-Hour World Time Trial Champion.Aug 16, 2022
  9. 41:09Tayo Jaiyesimi - Adventure Enthusiast blogging at: The 5 to 9 Traveller. Who believes life is more than your 9 to 5.Aug 09, 2022
  10. 01:09:21Sarah Williams - Reflects on the end of 2021 and the start of 2022.Aug 04, 2022