A Londoner by birth, I later moved out to Surrey where I attended Nonsuch High School for Girls in Cheam. Being a rather free-spirited person and finding the constraints and curriculum of an all girls’ grammar school a bit too much, I left at 16 (to the probable consternation of my headmistress) and started an apprenticeship in structural engineering in London. However, after not developing much of a passion for designing oil rigs, I decided to return to academic life and studied Sports Science at university to post-graduate level.

During this time, I became a decent runner, gaining an Athletics National Championship (AAA) medal in the 3000m and various vests for road, track and cross-country. I also spent time as a part-time teacher and coach.

After having surgery on a calcaneal bursitis and cyst, I decided to retire from athletics and travelled about for a while pursuing other interests, including spending long periods of time in Portugal where my parents were living. Having already dabbled with French and Spanish, and some Italian, I soon picked up a working knowledge of Portuguese and began to get involved in helping non-Portuguese-speaking expatriates with bureaucracy and property purchase problems. It therefore seemed the logical next step to write a book in order to pass on the knowledge that I had gained in this area, and I was lucky enough to get two editions of “Buying Property in Portugal” published by Bookshaker and Summertime Publishing.

After moving back to London for a few years, I am now based on the Somerset/Devon border and have released a third edition of “Buying Property in Portugal” under my own publishing name of Gabrielle Lea Publishing.

As well as this title, I have published “British Marathon Running Legends of the 1980s”, a project that was originally the basis for my MSc dissertation, and which was kindly sponsored by Sir Eddie Kulukundis, and I have also helped Life Coach and NLP Master Practitioner, Midgie Thompson, publish two books: “Winning Strategies for Sports and Life” and “Winning Strategies Workbook.”

Despite some ups and downs in recent years with a DVT in my subclavian vein, I have continued to train fairly hard since retiring from athletics and a few months before my 50th birthday I did my first physique stage competition where I finished 4th in the Over 35s Fitness Model category. I usually train four or five days a week lifting weights, and I also perform body weight exercises, circuits and a variety of cardiovascular exercise. For relaxation, I enjoy nothing more than drinking wine with good friends and going to the odd rock or metal gig.