September 2024 - Crowne Plaza, Belfast

September 2024 - Crowne Plaza, Belfast

Hannah Shields

The First Northern Ireland Woman To Conquer Everest

Hannah, the first woman from Northern Ireland to conquer Mount Everest in May 2007, began her career as a maxillofacial surgeon and later specialised in orthodontics as a general dental practitioner. Despite setbacks, including a heartbreaking decision to turn back just 100m from the Everest summit in 2003, she returned in 2007, successfully reaching the top. Hannah’s adventurous spirit also led her to participate in the Polar Challenge race to the North Magnetic Pole, where she encountered predatory polar bears. She made history as the first woman from Ireland to ski to the magnetic North Pole.

Never one to shy away from a challenge, Hannah Started running at 34, where she excelled at local and international levels, conquering ultra-marathons and endurance mountain running in her mid-40s. Approaching her 50th birthday, she embraced duathlons and triathlons, securing national titles and international representation. Honoured as an ‘Honorary goodwill ambassador to Nepal,’ Hannah’s motto, “Limits Exist Only In Our Minds,” encapsulates her unwavering determination.

In 2019, a training accident on her bike brought life-altering injuries, forcing her to leave her dental career. The journey to physical and mental recovery remains ongoing, marked by challenges testing her resilience. Despite the hurdles, she approaches each small step with determination and positivity, guided by the belief that “Limits Exist Only In Our Minds.”