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Sisters from Cornwall compete in SAS: Who Dares Wins

Sisters from Cornwall compete in SAS: Who Dares Wins

Published by Sarah Yeoman at 9:51am 12th January 2020.

Photo: Channel 4

Meet the two sisters from Cornwall who are taking part in Channel 4's 'SAS: Who Dares Wins'.

The programme sees ex-Special Forces soldiers put recruits through a recreation of the SAS selection process.

27-year-old Bethany is an art teacher - and Elouise is a 26-year-old solicitor.

The pair grew up on a farm in the Duchy where their parents taught them to question everything, especially authority.  

As a result, they don’t always fit in with everyone else. They stood out at school and didn’t fit in with the other girls.

Bethany has lived with mental health issues since she was a teenager.  At times, it has caused her to withdraw massively, impacting her relationship with her sister. 

sas who dares wins sisters
Bethany and Elouise at home in Cornwall as children. Credit: Family photo

Eventually, Elouise realised that the problem would not go away on its own and hatched a plan to make Bethany better by getting her involved in her own interests of Crossfit and nutrition. 

Bethany eventually learnt that she could control her mental health with diet and exercise. They then became best friends again.

Both sisters compete in cross-fit and Olympic weight-lifting, with dozens of podium finishes between them. 

They now see each other every day and are extremely close again - even living just down the street from each other.

Meet Bethany:

Tell me about your experience on SAS: Who Dares Wins? 

"Taking part in the series was a huge mix of emotions for me - I’m so glad I took part. There were certain elements of it I didn't expect.

"Having been through a lot, I thought I knew myself pretty well, but it turns out there was still more to discover and the show helped me deal with a few issues I hadn’t dealt with yet.

"I realised I’m physically stronger than I thought I was and mentally I can keep going until my body gives up and even after that."

What made you sign up?

"My great grandad worked alongside the founder of the SAS - he was part of the Long Range Desert Group in the Barc raid and received the military medal among other accolades.

"I wanted to prove to my family and myself that after my mental health struggles with bipolar disorder, I’m ok now and I can not only cope with the stresses in competing in a sport and everyday life, but I can take on one of the most stressful and challenging courses and come out the other side just as mentally strong as before. Having bipolar disorder no longer holds me back and I can manage my symptoms really well. I wanted to show that someone with a mental illness can overcome it and achieve things that seem impossible. To a lot of people bipolar disorder is a life sentence of struggling with very severe depression and mania, but I want to show people that recovery is possible.

"Also following my weightloss journey from 18 stone, morbidly obese and pre-diabetic, to a fit, healthy and active crossfit athlete all two years, I wanted to take on one of the toughest physical challenges to see what my body can do now.

"Plus, growing up in a gender neutral household, I never believed that my gender held me back from being as strong as the guys. It was only when I got to school that I was told I was weak because I was a girl and couldn't move the tables or carry the books like the boys. I hate being underestimated for being female. I wanted to prove that a woman who trains as much as I do, can complete crazy physical tasks that men can and be just as strong and just as fit. Passing the fitness test which is equivalent to the men’s military fitness test made me realise I could do it if i pushed myself."

Meet Elouise:

Did you find it difficult? Was it more difficult than you expected?

"An element I found difficult was the brutal climate. I can't even begin to describe how harsh the weather was. It was constantly raining and the wind on some days actually took me off my feet. I was so unbearably cold, my clothes were constantly wet and a couple of days in someone took home my Burgan which had my dry kit in it.  

"I was left with no dry clothes and had to beg and borrow so I wasn’t constantly in my wet kit. We slept in a barn and I drew the short straw with a bed next to the door which was always left open and even when closed, let the coldest draft in.  We were essentially sleeping outside with nothing more than a flimsy sleeping bag."

Have you ever done anything like this before?

"I have done allot of climbing, hiking, kayaking, swimming, coasteering and generally rolling around in mud in our fields as children.

"In 2014 I climbed Mt Kilimanjaro for charity and this gave me a little bit of an idea as to how the hiking tasks would feel. Climbing Kilimanjaro was tough.  The long days walking broke me mentally and physically and I really had to find something to keep me going. In my head I would say to myself, just keep putting one foot in front of the other, don’t think about the task at hand, break it up into single steps. I used this allot during my time on the course, there were times I wanted to give up but I just told myself to keep putting one foot in front of the other and not actually think about the magnitude of the task."

What training did you do in preparation for this course?

"I have always been extremely active and before the course I trained six days a week doing Crossfit and Weightlifting.

"Crossfit prepares you for everything and is actually very similar to the beestings in the yard. One thing I did add to my training for the course was more swimming.  I started to swim 3 days a week in the pool and in the sea. I live in Cornwall, five minutes from the sea, so I really had no excuse.  This really helped me when it came to the course. One thing I wish I had practiced was swimming in army boots.  It was so difficult. I remember feeling the boots pulling me down.  They became so heavy and it made swimming so much harder."

SAS: Who Dares Wins is on Channel 4 at 9pm on Sundays.

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