Eleonore is our latest Doer of the Month, earning the crown thanks to her impressive efforts in her first triathlon in June, raising 57 pledges in support of it. We caught up with her to hear her story and advice on inspiring friends to live more sustainably through Do Nation.
My name is El and I am a studying Environmental Technology at Imperial College in London. Though I am French, I have lived most of my life in the dynamic (but polluted!) city of Shanghai in China. This is where my desire to change the way we treat our environment comes from!
What were you raising support for? Any particular reason for choosing this challenge?
I was raising support to get encouragement for my first triathlon. I have always been an active person, and this was my new sporty challenge. I believe in healthy and dynamic lifestyles.
What is more, the triathlon was held in a charming village along the sea: no better way than swimming from the beach, cycling through the countryside hills and running through the village to discover the area.
What made you decide to ask for support through Do Nation?
I heard of Do Nation at a talk in my masters. Hermione (the founder) convinced me through her enthusiasm I needed to find something to do, anything really, to have an excuse to create a campaign!
As soon as I signed up for the race, I realised such a campaign had the potential of gathering interest in my friends and family so launched the Do Nation campaign. And it worked!
What was the most surprising or exciting pledge someone made?
A friend from my course pledged to clean his energy bills. Bold move for a student!
Also, some heavy meat eaters I know have pledged to cut down their meaty meals, and I’m very proud of them.
The tri itself – how did it go?
The triathlon was one of the best experiences I’ve ever had. I did quite a fast time, and arrived within the top women! It’s a great combination of sports; you never get too tired or bored of one.
It is also amazing to discover the region through activity. There was a good competition vibe with others chanting along as you went “Keep it up!”. Plus having family and friends to cheer me on was superb.
Keeping going requires grit and stamina – what motivated you to keep pushing on?
The supporters cheering me on kept me going! I came out of the swimming part in the top 5, and I just tried to keep it up! Having little girls cheering me on (with a tini-feminist claim) “Go on, do it for all women!” really pushed me.
Also I’ve got quite a competitive spirit, and wanted to impress my parents (plus reward them for years of investment in sports classes).
Finally, knowing all my friends promised to do a lifestyle change effort for 2 months, I told myself my one-day effort needed to be intense!
And once done, how did you celebrate?
My dad had booked a table in my favourite creperie (this was in Brittany where I come from). So we walked over to the restaurant, where the familiar staff clapped as I walked in. My favourite desert, crepe with salted caramel, after weeks of training and attention to my diet it felt great.
Any tips for others encouraging friends to make pledges?
To get people to pledge, you’ll need to remind them. No one will disagree that is it a great cause, and a wonderful campaign to sign up to. Even the sceptics, deep down they know it is great. So remind your friends and family to pledge on top of giving verbal acknowledgement.
Also, I tried to make it a competition between my friends. “Who will manage to save the most carbon?” and somehow they bought it and pledged along!