Avril Copeland’s quest for adventure began nearly 12 years ago when she was living in Nashville, Tennessee. Born and bred in a Dublin suburb, Avril began her sporting career as a hockey player, where she played from the age of 16 years, representing not only her province, but also her country. When Ireland missed out on a spot in the Sydney Olympics, Avril decided four years was to long to wait, so retired her international hockey career and headed for Nashville to pursue her dreams of working in the country music business.
After a year in Nashville, while home on holidays, Avril came across the Eco Challenge Adventure Race on television. A six day non-stop race through the leech infested jungles of Borneo, the sheer hardship the racers endured, albeit the ultimate life changing achievement, motivated Avril to delve further. Not knowing anyone involved in the sport, Avril wrote to the top team asking for advice on how to get started. Avril bought a bike and a boat, attended a week long training course on adventure racing, and then that same year she began, entered her first adventure race, The Odyssey Endorphin Fix, a 48 hour non-stop race though the wilds of West Virginia.
Since then, Avril has proven herself in the world of adventure racing having competed in many of the world’s most grueling expedition length races. Some of the highlights being two World Championships, an Eco Challenge and five Eco Primal Quests, an event known as the “World’s Toughest Human Endurance Race”. In September this year, Avril will take on her third World Championships in France, where along with her team, she will trek, kayak, mountain bike, raft and climb for six days non-stop through the French Alps on as little as two hours sleep per night. Avril now lives back home in Dublin. She regularly gives talks around Ireland on the sport of adventure racing, while also working as a Chartered Physiotherapist in a major Dublin hospital.