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Jenny Tough running solo across the Tien Shan mountains of Kyrgyzstan

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On September 18 2016, I ran – somewhat stonkered – through the city gates of Osh, in the southwest of Kyrgyzstan, having run just over 900 kilometres in 25 days from the northeast city of Karakol via the Tien Shan mountains, solo and self-supported.

The expedition took me through some stunning and challenging landscape, using ancient nomad trails and incredibly rough tracks, accessing mountain passes up to 4000m, while I carried all of my supplies on my back, weighing in at about 12kg.

Along the way I camped wild in my tiny tent or accepted incredibly generous hospitality from yurt-dwelling nomads, and experienced weather ranging from 35 degree heat, to thunderstorms, to proper snow. This adventure was, for me, as much about mountain running and pushing the absolute limits of my physical capabilities as it was about exploring the largely isolated and unheard of culture of the Kyrgyz nomads, and exploring a country where 25 years after Soviet rule still exists largely in poverty. I met some truly wonderful people and had so many experiences that I will cherish forever, and I am eternally grateful to have been able to have such an incredible adventure.

I met some truly wonderful people and had so many experiences that I will cherish forever.

Jenny Tough fastpacking
Jenny Tough - Mountains of Heaven

I made ‘Mountains of Heaven’ shortly after my run, and was my first true attempt at film-making. I’ve been delighted to screen my no-budget, solo film at a few adventure festivals around the world, and now share it with you here!

Jenny has recently released her book ‘Solo – What Running Across Mountains Taught Me About Life’. Solo is the account of one woman’s mission to run solo and unsupported across mountain ranges on six continents—overcoming obstacles, conquering fears and finding the joy in achieving her goals absolutely alone.

Solo by Jenny Tough

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Jenny Tough


Jenny Tough

Jenny Tough is an adventure traveller and endurance challenger. She is mostly found bikepacking around Scotland and abroad, or fastpacking (running very long distances with a heavy backpack) across mountains. She was the first person to run across Kyrgyzstan/The Tien Shan, and the Atlas Mountains, on her mission to run across a mountain range on every continent.She enjoys writing about her solo mountain expeditions and tales of world travel as a solo female.
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