New training blog –

Apologies for no recent updates – I will seek to amend this in the coming week. I have been working on a separate training blog –, in order to keep this site quite focused on the ‘how to meet a million people’ challenge.

Interestingly the new blog has featured in the Telegraph online yesterday in an article by the Olympic rower, James Cracknell. I have posted details of this article below.

Thank you for your patience!

Original article:

James Cracknell: my recommended brain injury charities


@JamesCracknell Had bike crash 2yrs ago & helmet saved me, fundraisin in DecaIronman charities? @NWlongworth

I think I should be recommending you a therapist rather than a charity! I’m not one to instantly dismiss an endurance challenge, but the thought of a 2.4 mile swim, a 112 mile bike ride, and then a 26.2 mile marathon – in other words an Ironman – never struck me as the most pleasurable way to spend all the hours of the day.

That being said, it must subconsciously be on my radar, simply because I already know what a DecaIronman is. For the sane out there who have never heard of the term before, a DecaIronman is ten Ironmans back to back!

Once you’ve finished the marathon in the first Ironman, you get straight back into the water to start Ironman 2 and another 2.4 mile swim. A process that you repeat, repeat, and repeat, either for a lifetime or until you reach 10, whichever comes first.

While we don’t share a DecaIronman as an ambition, what we do have in common is that we’ve both been saved by a bike helmet and now want to raise money and help others by taking on challenges.

Headway (The Brain Injury Association) is who I raise money for. They help victims and the families of Acquired and Traumatic Brain Injury (ABI & TBI) sufferers. Headway were the charity that helped my family and I understand the impacts and effects of T/ABI on my life and how to cope with them.

Through Headway I was able to build strategies to cope with my injuries, gaining an understanding/insight into an illness that I’d never been exposed to previously. Today I fully appreciate how lucky I was to survive, and feel privileged to be able to raise money for a charity that helps so many people.

At this stage I should point out a potential conflict of interest: I’m the Vice President of Headway – but don’t let that dissuade you from raising money for a charity that does phenomenal work for sufferers and their families.

Other charities dedicated to helping brain injury sufferers are the Child Brain Injury Trust (CBIT) and The United Kingdom Acquired Brain Injury Forum (UKABIF).

Like so many victims of TBI or ABI I now have epilepsy, which shamefully still has a stigma associated with it that prevents people feeling able to talk about their condition. The Epilepsy Society does amazing work in this area.

100 ways to meet a million people – Part 1/2

Imagine the Mexican wave......

Imagine the Mexican wave……

With all the cycling, running and triathlon blogs in the last few weeks, I thought I would go back and touch on what exactly is ‘How to meet a million people’ – with 100 on how you could do this massive task. Perhaps one day a brand manager will take me up on the challenge, but if it takes cycling around the world – so be it!

This whole phrase/idea/obsession started 5 years ago, when I was lucky enough to be elected as to the SU in my uni through an intensive two weeks of student canvassing, which relies on 1. A very enthusiastic small group of friends; who worked their butts off for me (thanks lads) and 2. a keen interest in meeting new people. I soon realized the dramatic impact of just ‘meeting’ people and alongside the influence of posted videos on college humour & other sites, I thought  has anyone ever gone out & documented the goal of meeting a million people? Here is the first 50 ways I would go out to do it. Note quite a few videos here so give it a moment to load!

Share a comment with your ideas!

1, Inspirational from College Humour Prank Wars (x2)

I LOVE the fact that the crowd just gets absorbed by the whole concept of the prank – I think you could do the same thing on ‘How to meet a million people’ – want 40,000 tweets at one time, thats how you do it!

2. Be part of the largest gathering of people of Earth – held every 12 years, the Maha Kumbh Mela, a religious festival in India; over 100million visited the festival last year!

3. Playing striker in the Ashbourne Shrovetide Football match

4. Take the gold at RedNeck Olympics

5.Become a refugee at Sealand, the world’s smallest ‘nation’

6. Already planning the costume for RedBull Flugtag


7. Join an isolated tribe festival; yes you can survive without an iPhone

8. Ice fishing with eskimo community, granted there might not be many of them but these are peoples that most of us will never meet in a lifetime!

9. Life model in a warm drawing room


10. Might be a bit nippy after that so better make a jumper at Sheep shearing World Championship

11. Will also need some wellies……Swamp Soccer Finland

12. Try to avoid making an ass out of myself as TV News Anchor…..extra points for being a weatherman!

13. This is where I should make an ass of myself – Clown College

14. After the pressures of entertainment I may want to escape it all – Mongol Rally by the Adventurists, you drive in a rubbish, completely unpractical car from London to Mongolia……really is making life less boring!

15. It was this or Oktoberfest….but would be interested in seeing what all the excitement is about – A Dart international tournament

16. Now this is exciting/terrifying……Wing walking on a plane at a International Flying festival

17. My mum might prefer this….Conduct an orchestra

18. We should all do this – Volunteer at soup kitchen (not just at Christmas!)

19. Aim high…Graduation speech at your old school

20. Caddie for a pro golfer, perhaps in sunny Australia!

21. You have 48 hours to get as far away as possible…..with no money……College Jailbreak

22. This is just plain stupid and I love it….Cheese rolling championship, try not to break anything

23. We all know you did it last night at the club…….Air Guitar World Championships

24.Before there was rugby there was Buzkashi….like rugby but on horses and with a dead goat, oh and also Afghanistan’s national sport!

25. Could I even be the first in like 20 years to score a goal at the Eton Wall Game?

26. All this rough and tumble, time to get some peace – Summer Solistice at Stonehenge

27. I’ll bring my mum on this one – London to Brighton Veteran Car Run

28. Although she might not appreciate me getting hitched at a mass wedding……wish that mock wedding we had planned in college had turned out better!

29. Might need to learn the legal system for that divorce…become a member of a jury; apparently you can get a verdict ‘wrong’! See below:

30. I wonder what I wonder what skill I can offer as currency, I’m told there is no money at the Burning Man festival

31. Watching hours of reruns is allowed while planning costume for Star Trek Convention

32. They might even give you the costume at historical mock battle

33. Way too much excitement for one day……24 Hours on a rollercoaster

34. 2 hours of madness at the tomato fight at La Tomatino

35. Become the host at Gay Bingo! My Monday night is made!

36. Trust me, Google this – Improv Everywhere; so simple, so brilliant – the high five escalator to cheer everyone up!

You may remember these guys from the Flash Mob idea!

High five escalator is closely followed by standing around in Best Buy

37. Busking on the Tube/Underground

38. Being forever immortalized on DAVE by taking part in a game show – take your pick!

Bright yellow T-shirt I think

Bright yellow T-shirt I think

39. Wreck my dad’s old car at a Destruction Derby

40. Racing a horse, nah too normal – Camel racing at The Two Tims, Alice Springs, Australia

41. Rowing is particularly hard when you are hanging and bumping into each other deliberately – Oxford Bumps

42. A mixture of brain and brawn – Chess Boxing

43. My body is my canvass – World Body Painting festival

44. Needs to be a bit more original than race car driving……..Hovercraft racing

45. Although there is always room for caravans – British Caravan Grand Prix

46. A test of true ‘Manliness’……Nathan’s Hot Dog Eating Contest

47. Though eating that was hard?…..UK Nettle Eating Championships

48. Need to burn off all that eating…..World Sauna Championships

49. And get into shape – Natural Bodybuilding contest – quite impressed by Jodie Marsh on this

50. Its not for the glory or the money……maybe the free lunch? Become a movie extra

Got any suggestions on what should be in Part 2? Let me know in the comments! Don’t worry underwater ice hockey is number 51 :p

Dear TED,How to build a conference on Triathlon – Part 1,Day One

kona crawl

Looking at what goes behind the pain and suffering…..and I suppose also the sense of achievement

Good morning TED

Your work in providing a forum for innovative presentations on technology, entertainment and design has clearly left a mark on the conference industry (I should know, I work as a producer in it), prompting debate on the world wide web and inspiring the next generation. Great stuff. As an avid sports enthusiast, I have always wanted to produce/be involved in a thought-provoking, exciting event whereby the best sports athletes and scientists come together to challenge old ideas and establish new ones. Being in Singapore, there are present challenges in putting together a forum on my own using your TEDx platform (flight reimbursements etc. I dare say this is a call out to those organizers in the country :p!) and furthermore I think an exciting topic such as ‘Sport’ needs a full team behind it anyway. To that end, I thought I would put together a ‘wish list’ for an agenda  on the specific subject of triathlon – any further suggestions, just drop me a line.

We would definitely have athletes on spin bikes & infinity pools alongside the stage throughout the days proceedings!

We would definitely have athletes on spin bikes & infinity pools alongside the stage throughout the days proceedings!

Granted, not all of these presentations are as wacky or striking as some of your other installments but I think it is a careful balance between recognized veterans of the sports/its disciplines and the highest respected innovators in the sport. Whatever it is, the speaker line up is an extremely exciting prospect and I think the triathlon industry will queue up to get into the front row – no risk of a ‘quiet’ day two morning (as can be the case with conferences) at this one! Hope you enjoy and sure if nothing else it will break up the late afternoon in the office!

Day One – Excelling in the three disciplines of Triathlon

Session 1: Opening remarks

To start the day off, well there are dozens of great quotes but I found this one, that is not by a triathlete but I think sets the spirit of why in our often comfortable day to day lives we still challenge ourselves with a triathlon:

We run, not because we think it is doing us good, but because we enjoy it and cannot help ourselves…The more restricted our society and work become, the more necessary it will be to find some outlet for this craving for freedom. No one can say, ‘You must not run faster than this, or jump higher than that.’ The human spirit is indomitable.” – Sir Roger Bannister, first runner to run a sub-4 minute mile

Now to the opening speeches: I think this has to come from a respected and prolific winner of the Ironman Kona World Championship, as it will really set the tone of the meeting to come & certainly get people to sit down & listen! They won’t even need a coffee. My vote for opening day one or two (depending on their own schedules and I picked retired athletes because of training schedules etc)

Chrissie WellingtonChrissie Wellington is the queen of Ironman triathlon and has been World Champion 4 times. She holds, or held, all three world and championship records relating to ironman-distance  triathlon races: firstly, the overall world record, secondly, the Ironman World Championship course record (from 2009 until Mirinda Carfrae lowered it in 2013), and thirdly, the official world record for all Ironman-branded triathlon races over the full Ironman distance. She won the World Championship in three consecutive years (2007–2009), but could not start the 2010 World Championship race because of illness, but regained the title in 2011. Furthermore (there is quite a big list here!) she was undefeated in all thirteen of her races over the ironman distance and is the only triathlete, male or female, to have won the World Championship less than a year after turning professional. This achievement was described by the British Triathlon Federation as “a remarkable feat, deemed to be a near impossible task for any athlete racing as a rookie at their first Ironman World Championships’.

Dave Scott

Dave Scott, is a former US triathlete and the first six-time Ironman Triathon World Champion. He won in Kona six times in 1980, 1982, 1983, 1984, 1986, and 1987, with only his rival, Mark Allen, managing to match these six titles eight years later. Scott is also referred to as “The Man.” Remarkably Dave Scott came out of ‘retirement’ in 1994 at age 40 to take second place in Kona and 2 years later he returned again to place 5th, running the marathon in 2:45!

Of course there is a whole host of great triathletes, some of which can be found in this list below:

Session 2: Panel discussion on ‘The future of Olympic distance triathlon’

[1] Andy Schmitz, USA Triathlon’s High Performance General Manager

[2] Ben Bright, Head Coach, British Triathlon

[3] Omar Gonzalez, Coach of Javier Gomez (Winner of ITU World Championship, literally by a few metres – great race report here)

[4] Dr Patrick Schamasch, Medical & Scientific Director, International Olympic Committee

Session 3: Breaking it down into the 3 disciplines; what advice do the most accomplished athletes have?

Swimming – Dr. Rondi Davies

Rondi Davies

Ok swimming is hard but marathon swimming is even harder! Rondi Davies is the American record holder for the fastest time around Manhattan Island (5:44:47) for a woman and holds the world record for a 10 mile swim. It doesn’t stop there, she also co-founded the 8 Bridges Hudson River Swim, a 7 day event of 120 miles, with David Barra and in 2012 was the only person besides Grace van der Byl to finish each of the stages on the race!

Cycling – Chris Broadman

Chris Broadman

Chris Broadman is a British former racing cyclist  who won an individual pursuit gold medal at the 1992 Summer Olympics and has broken the World Hour Record 3 times – including breaking Eddy Merckxx 28 year old record under the same conditions by only 10 metres in 2000. He has worn the yellow jersey on 3 separate occasions in the Tour de France and is nicknamed ‘The Professor’ for his meticulous attention to detail in preparation & training, and his technical know-how. Boardman had a huge focus on interval training and was a keen user of power measuring devices – something which was being developed in the early 1990s. He quite famously had an altitude tent  built in his house to help him prepare for the hour record attempt. Although suffering from low hormone levels which outside professional cycling competition would need testosterone therapy (and in 1998 he was diagnosed with an illness like osteoporosis) Broadman still holds the record for the fastest average speed in a time trial (of 55.152kph) in the 7.2km time trial prologue at the 1994 Tour de France.

Running – Paula Radcliffe

Paula RadcliffePaula Radcliffe is the current world record holder for the marathon distance at a time of 2:15:25 hours. She is 3 time winner of the London Marathon (2002, 2003, 2005), the NYC Marathon (2004, 2007, 2008) and also winner of the Chicago Marathon in 2002. She is also the former world champion in the marathon, half marathon, cross country and winner of 10k silver medal at the 1999 World Championships & 2002 Commonwealth champion at 5k. Paula has represented Great Britain in 4 consecutive Olympic Games. All this and she is an asthma sufferer! In addition to her running titles she is an MBE, winner of IAAF World Athlete of the Year, Laureus World Comeback of the Year, AIMS World Athlete of the Year (3 times) and the BBC Sports Personality of the Year.

Session 4: On the day , looking at the grub & the gear

Why proper race nutrition is so important – Mark Allen, 2nd six-time Ironman Triathlon World Champion. 

Quick background, can’t really use that phrase with the mountain of stuff coming next, to Mark Allen: Competing in six Ironman Triathlon Championships up to 1989 before emerging victorious that year. That would be the first of six Ironman victories, the last coming in 1995 at age 37. He has also excelled at the Olympic distance, winning the sport’s inaugural World Championships in 1989 in Avignon, France by more than a minute. He also went undefeated in 10 trips to the Nice International Championships and from 1988-1990 he put together a winning streak of 20 races. Over the course of his racing career, which ended in 1996, he maintained a 90% average in top-three finishes. He was named Triathlete of the Year six times by Triathlete magazine, and in 1997 Outside magazine tabbed him The World’s Fittest Man. Allen was inducted into the Ironman Triathlon Hall of Fame in 1997.

Session 5 – What’s next in wetsuit innovation?

Xavier Merian, Founder, Aquaman

In 1983, triathlon started on the world scene and with the lack of wetsuits in the sport – much like this epic 80s advert:

Then Xavier Merian changed it all and started working on the world’s first 1984 Triathlon wetsuit. AQUAMAN, as the company became known, put together the first wetsuit in 1984 which could provide warmth, freedom of movement, low water friction, and easy to take off. Even to this day AQUAMAN is dedicated to finding technological advancements that make a suit quicker and more comfortable. @triathleteurope recently reviewed the latest model – AQUAMAN ART – to have the ultimate in suit flexibility,link


And with all that talk on innovations in making you go faster in the water, my recommendations is the lunchtime talk should be about being invisible to sharks…..

Session 6 – Its all about the bike

Cervélo Triathlon/Time trial bicycles have won more pro races than any other, and they are by far the most popular bicycles at Ironman and time trial events for athletes of all levels. Enough said. I think we should get the whole time to join us………

Session 7 : How to get a powerful running experience

Ian Adamson, Director of Education & R&D, Newton Running Shoes

Ian is not only an expert in shoe design but an extremely successful adventure racer with six world championship wins, 15 world championship podium finishes and 14 international adventure race championship titles. He is a three time and current world record holder for endurance kayaking (262 miles in 24 hours.) Additionally Ian has competed internationally in adventure racing, canoeing, kayaking, orienteering and sailing. Ian holds a BS in Bio-mechanical engineering and an MS in Sports Medicine, and is featured regularly in the educational videos posted on the Newton website (also on the Newton Channel on YouTube).  You can read a great Q&A session with Ian on runblogger .

Session 8: IRONMAN Panel session – Still stuck on where to phrase this as the next trends/innovations in the sport or perhaps more ‘the future’.

Remarks – ‘From the Trenches’ with Diana Bertsch, Eleven Year Race Director of Ironman Kona – might go something like this

[1] Asker Jeukendrup Global Senior Director of the Gatorade Sports Science Institute (@Jeukendrup).

Jeukendrup, a distinguished author, Ironman triathlete and registered sports and exercise nutritionist, comes to GSSI from his position as Professor of Exercise Metabolism and Director of the Human Performance lab at the University of Birmingham in England.

[2] Joe Friel is an endurance sports coach best known as an elite triathlon and cycling coach as well as the author of The Triathlete’s Training BibleThe Cyclist’s Training BibleThe Mountain Biker’s Training BibleGoing Long: Training for Ironman-Distance Triathlons, and Your First Triathlon. Joe has trained endurance athletes since 1980. His clients are elite amateur and professional road cyclists, mountain bikers, triathletes, and duathletes. They come from all corners of the globe and include American and foreign national champions, world championship competitors, and an Olympian. He is the author of ten books on training for endurance athletes including the popular and best-selling Training Bible book series. He holds a masters degree in exercise science, is a USA Triathlon and USA Cycling certified Elite-level coach, and is a founder and past Chairman of the USA Triathlon National Coaching Commission.

[3] Walt LoweMedical Director of the IRONMAN Sports Medicine Institute at Memorial Hermann. 

The Memorial Hermann IRONMAN Sports Medicine Institute is a comprehensive sports medicine clinic providing elite care for athletes of all ages and skill levels. The institute is based in Houston, Texas, serving the community with locations in the world-renowned Texas Medical Center, Memorial City Medical Center, and The Woodlands. The Institute brings together highly trained experts in sports science, orthopedics,orthopedic surgery, sports physical therapy, human performance, strength and conditioning and sport nutrition to help athletes of all ages and abilities prevent injury, recover from injury and improve performance to reach their personal athletic goals.


I HAVE to get one of these!

I HAVE to get one of these!

Afternoon sessions take a further look behind at keynote researchers & advocates of our three disciplines

Session 9 – Perfecting that swim stroke

Rajat Mittel, Professor of mechanical engineering at Johns Hopkins

Rajat oversaw the famous ‘Paddle vs Propeller: Which Olympic swimming stroke is superior?‘. Using high-precision laser scans and underwater videos of elite swimmers, and additionally using animation software to match the video sequence. The study supervised by the fluid dynamics expert found that the deep catch stroke, resembling a paddle, has the edge over sculling, the bent-arm, propeller-inspired motion. This research was later published in the Journal of Biomechanical Engineering but you can find a popular science write-up here – ‘Delineating the Perfect Swim Stroke’

Session 10 – Aerodynamic Cycling Analysis

David Salazar, General Manger, A2 Wind Tunnel

David manages the world’s first wind tunnel which can measure aerodynamic forces and can capture biomechanics as they occur in a real-time, frame-by-frame fashion throughout the entire tunnel session. The tunnel provides a consistent aerodynamic environment at speeds ranging from 30 to 85 mph and clients include everything from triathletes, time trialist to motorcycle manufacturers, racing cars!

Session 11 – Barefoot Running – should this be how you should train & race?

An the debate ravages on – Barefoot running advocates argue minimal running is better for the feet in that it strengthens them and reduces chronic injuries such as IT Band Syndrome, Runner’s Knee, shinsplints and other common running injuries. The side of the oppostions argue the barefoot running forces runners to forestrike as opposed to heel-strike, which is the result of the evolution of the running shoe to exhibit a cushioned heel.

I think with all this running around in preparation for an Ironman we should get one of barefoot running’s greatest supporters in; Christopher McDougall  is an the author of the best-selling book Born to Run: A Hidden Tribe, Superathletes, and the Greatest Race the World Has Never Seen. He is also a contributing editor for Men’s Health and a host of other major magazines. And of course is quite a good runner as well!!!

Session 12 – Altitude training research

Mo Farah is arguably as Lord Coe put it ‘the greatest British athlete of all time’. Maybe we should find out how and why he is so good, might help that dreaded final 10k on the Ironman marathon right? Alberto Salazar is the American coach of Mo Farah and Galen Rupp (Olympic silver medalist and current American recorder holder of 10k)……I bet he has a few interesting things to say!

Evening session bonanza – Determination & guts

I would NOT like to get in a ring with this guy!

I would NOT like to get in a ring with this guy!

‘Guts and Glory’

Baxter Humby is a Canadian kickboxer known as “The One Armed Bandit” due to his missing right hand, which was amputated at birth just below his elbow after becoming entangled with the umbilical cord. He is the only man in the world to win world titles with only one hand. Baxter is the current IMTC (International Muay Thai Council) World Super Welterweight Champion. He holds a number of different title belts including WBC Super Welterweight National Champion (2010), IKKC USA Kickboxing Champion, IMTC World Middleweight Champion and IKBA International Kickboxing Champion.

‘Yes you can’ with Team Hoyt

Team Hoyt is father and son Dick Hoyt and Rick Hoyt, from Massachusetts, who have competed together in various athletic endeavors, including marathons and triathlons. Rick has cerebral palsy and during competition Dick pulls Rick in a special boat as they swim, carries him in a special seat in the front of a bicycle, and pushes him in a special wheelchair as they run. Team Hoyt was inducted to the Ironman Hall of Fame in 2008

Now delegates you can go out and enjoy the town………but get ready for Day Two!!!

Why we need to stop talking & make London cycling safe

Anyone else sees this as a potential  side collision coming right up?

Anyone else sees this as a potential side collision coming right up?

As we build up to Adelaide Velo-City Global 2014, the world’s foremost conference on cycling planning; including discussions on the benefits of cycling for city infrastructure – including urban design, traffic planning, economic prosperity & population health – and the role of cycling in better social development, I thought I would comment on the need for safe cycling infrastructure in London, one of the world’s great cities. After all I have seen first hand the enthusiasm for cycling in the city – a considerable influence no doubt coming from the popularity of British Cycling from the Olympics and even the Mayor of London’s initiatives – both as a past time and to commute to work. But I have also witness the real fear that many people have to get on the road with their bikes because of the numerous cyclist deaths which plague the city and it’s morning headlines. I myself smashed all my teeth out of my front jaw (surgeons were pretty sure my obliterated helmet saved me from serious head trauma I must add) from a poorly maintained road surface in South London 2 years ago, so if that adds any weight to these arguments below, please use them to stop the talking and get things done.

London could be one of the great cycling cities and it’s presence at the heart of the world economy, cultural exchanges (it is after all the world’s most diverse city) and global transport connections (we will leave the future of Heathrow airport for another day!) means that it could have a profound influence across the planet – NYC you could even be next! However with these ongoing protests, petitions and preventable cycling deaths in London, a profound sense of reality must fall on *cough* Boris and Mr Cameron, take the same amount of money you spend doing up Buckingham place (no dig at royalty there, promise, just an example), what like 67p per person in the UK and make proper changes to the cycling infrastructure in the capital and a firm inclusion here – the rest of the UK!

imageOne day after the RideLondon event (3-4 August 2013), where tens of thousands of participants rode through the city in traffic free space, a 67 year old retired GP Clive Richard became the fourth victim on the capital roads in as many weeks to be killed in a fatal collision. A collision which took place, like all the others, on a street where cyclists have to share space with fast-moving heavy motor traffic. This has to stop now. Enough with the debate-MPs will be talking over the Get Britain Cycling report that proposes a host of measures to make cycling safer-it is time to construct Dutch style segregated   tracks (Cycling Embassy of Great Britain does a nice job on summarizing the ‘Dutch Cycling Infrastructure‘) alongside cycling specific traffic lights & frankly whatever the London Cycling Campaign proposes!

The mayor is facing tough questions from several political inquests because simply when you are spending £10million on cycle superhighways while does it normally just consist of blue paint&often to dangerous traffic junctions?

As many cyclists know, the current infrastructure in place is often summarizes as follows (a video entitled ‘A short journey’ by Chris Broadman for British Cycling and put together for the ‘Get Britain Cycling” Parliamentary inquiry in Feb 2013, note another inquiry, talk, chance for our leaders to have yet another meeting)

Being a cycling enthusiast I am drawn to the quotes of activists like Fred Armisen;

“Cars. They’re noisy and ugly. They smell terrible and cause disease on an epidemic proportion. They move way too fast, take up an extraordinary amount of space, are a leech on the economy, and have a propensity to run people over, especially kids. What’s to love?”

But let’s be a bit more diplomatic and put a simple summary list together for the politicians who have that well-complied report in their desk drawer:

[1] No other mode of transport is better value you money.

7.4% of EU citizens use bicycle as their primary mode of transportation although overall investment for the EU-27 on cycling infrastructure and promotion amounts to a measly 3 billion euro annually. The mayor of Portland (Oregon, US and a city considered one of the most cycling friendly urban areas in the country) Sam Adams is on record saying that the entire biking network cost $60million, about the cost of 1 MILE of highway. Further examples were raised in a recent blog from David Suzuki, a Japanese Canadian broadcaster, science broadcaster & environmental activist, including a study by Stantec Consulting Ltd on traffic delays in Vancouver area which showed that travelling by a new bike lane in the city was actually faster than by car. To quote Mr Suzuki ‘As oil becomes scarce and pollution and climate change increase, people are finally realizing that transporting a 90-kilogram person in two tonnes of metal just isn’t sustainable, especially in urban areas’ – that just about sums it up, doesn’t it?

[2] Bicycling’s healthcare savings are huge.

With millions of office workers having no or little exercise week in week out, that commute into work can have huge health benefits (in fact the British Medical Journal found no significant statistical difference between exercise & drug intervention for the treatment of heart failure and stroke – see here – and there is growing evidence that it clinically fights depression. In the US (which is health benefit crazy let’s face it) companies are starting to pay employees cash to bike commute to work including QBP in Minnesota which paid out $45,000 each year, saving $200,000 a year on healthcare claims. Looking globally the WHO even developed a Health Economic Assessment Tool (HEAT) for cycling and estimated that the health benefits of cycling just from reduced mortality was 114-121billion euro annually.


[3] The case for local economic prosperity from increased cycling;

Starting with a visual reference this was a great post by @carltonreid. Executive editor for, which demonstrated the economic prosperity for local business because of Cambridge’s love of cycling – and it’s not just the cycling shops but cafés, markets, we have think like a Danish cyclist I suppose.

On an academic scale, even the conservative fiscally arguments for bicycle infrastructure are numerous. A 2009 British study found that just a small number of additional regular riders is needed to repay the cost of new cycling infrastructure. In this research it was determined that an infrastructure investment equivalent to 10,000 pounds would be recouped over the life of the facility by enticing just one additional cyclist to ride 3 times a week. Furthermore a 2006 analysis by Sustrans, a major non-profit organization working for sustainable transportation in partnership with the U.K. government, demonstrated that the benefit-cost ratio of cycling infrastructure averaged 20 to 1 including estimated health savings. Across the pond, an Ottawa Cycling Plan, called for $26 million over 5 years, recognizing that it would entirely pay for itself with about 2,200 new regular cyclists. References for these and numerous other studies can be found at this great blog

To give even more weight to this argument; building bike lanes creates jobs  and other economic spin-offs, with many researchers arguing that more of the money on road-building efforts goes towards equipment and materials rather than a greater percentage on wages as with bicycle lanes. According to a study from the Political Economy Research Institute in Amherst, Massachusetts, titled “Pedestrian and Bicycle Infrastructure: A National Study of Employment Impacts”. Researchers found that “bicycling infrastructure creates the most jobs for a given level of spending.” For every $1 million spent, cycling projects created an average of 11.4 jobs in the state where the project was located, pedestrian-only projects created about 10 jobs, and multi-use trails created about 9.6 jobs. Infrastructure combining road construction with pedestrian and bicycle facilities created slightly fewer jobs for the same amount of spending, and road-only projects created the least, with a total of 7.8 jobs per $1 million.

And of course the list of benefits for cycling extend even further, including: reduced air and noise pollution, low demand on scarce (urban) space, a small carbon footprint, reduced fuel dependency etc etc. Because of this blindness to behaviour change, we in the UK are missing out on the vast societal beneifts of sustainable transport . And so the question is while do our inner city transport planners insist on giving space to car traffic – even with all the negative consequences of our car-centric culture – when it has been proven that cycling has dramatic health and social benefits, and in many cases gets you at your office desk faster & stop your boss shouting at you for being late? Cycling must be prioritized  in city planning, with serious targets on reducing serious injuries or death, as well as targets for safety, comfort, and speed. Future planning needs to call for rebuilding streets and intersections throughout the city and identify especially dangerous intersections. This all in tandem with safety and behavioural campaigns and resetting the mindset of motor traffic leaders in TfL.

To get a bit inspiration about it all, I always enjoy the quote:

When man invented the bicycle he reached the peak of his attainments. Here was a machine of precision and balance for the convenience of man. And (unlike subsequent inventions for man’s convenience) the more he used it, the fitter his body became. Here, for once, was a product of man’s brain that was entirely beneficial to those who used it, and of no harm or irritation to others. Progress should have stopped when man invented the bicycle. ” – Elizabeth West

Or to get a bit more ‘scientific’ about it all this is a quote from a systemic review in the British Medical Journal Clinical Research Edition on ‘Inventions to promote cycling’

Considering cycle lanes are waste of money and cycle tracks are inherently dangerous you should have no problem pointing out another report of comparable research that shows leaving out cycle lanes and cycle tracks would have resulted much more significant results.
Yang, L. et al., 2010. Interventions to promote cycling: systematic review. Bmj Clinical Research Ed., 341(c5293). 

So what should we do?

Ok the Olympic stadium may have gone up well but lets not get ahead of ourselves, or should we?

Ok the Olympic stadium may have gone up well but lets not get ahead of ourselves, or should we?

Well first of all let’s stop all this talking. Sign the checks and get going. $60 million was the price quoted for Portlands cycling infrastructure (granted not a world leading city for cycling but that price tag goes a long way to build dedicated cycling routes) let’s put together a list of 3 white elephant projects or other resultless pursuits that resemble that figure or totally eclipse it – aka lets show that money is there, or shall we say should be and is being wasted. These are some notable ‘red’ projects (which are at serious risk of failure) as drawn up by the Government’s own Major Project Authority:

1.  £34 billion on HS2 rail link from London to Manchester. Granted I think railways are an excellent way to get people off the roads (although I think the money would be better spent of higher capacity, eg double decker trains, Mr Prime Minister ever been standing for 5 hours all the way to Edinburgh in the corridor next to the toilet on your rail network?). Surely it is not too much to ask for segregated cycle lanes in probably the world’s greatest city – as already mentioned before this cuts down depression, is the most efficient way for mass transport of commuters, improves air quality etc etc.

NB and with this focus on rail transport can we also note the importance of the ability to bring bikes on a train. Not much point getting the UK active if you can only book 3 bikes on the train to the Lake District and so have to drive up – that’s a reference to you Virgin a Trains and the governments west coast franchise people (you get your own grilling in a sec)

2. West Coast Main Line franchise fiasco set to cost 50million mainly because the contract procedure wasn’t drawn up correctly – or at least that’s what I recall on the stupid fiasco, won’t waste my time looking it up more.

3. And of course this marble elephant – The failure of the FiReControl project469 million wasted according to the National Audit Office

Safe, segmented cycle lanes in London should be absolutely priority for any regional Government and before we laugh at some of the SkyRides proposed by the Boris and his office (some great thinking coming from that office really, just need to put the hard cash down & get going), just do a little research on those networks already in existance. Copenhagen for one has elevated bikeways and multilane highways. You can even used disused railway lanes as Boris has mentioned in interviews. Of course it is not all bad news, there have been progress in developing one way street into cycle lanes. Only this August the Department of Transport allocated 3.7million (in addition to the 1.8million of local money) to upgrade cycling infrastructure across Norwich and additionally there is the Bristol to Bath railway path. Yet really for the financial investment in motor travel these steps are really tiny – indeed there has been criticism that by focusing on small cycle lanes and not on establishing main routes you are causing a  risk of further injuries (don’t groan road users, our income tax subsidies road infrastructure – yes that’s right your road tax doesn’t cover it all).

A feature of the Copenhagen cycling infrastructure

A feature of the Copenhagen cycling infrastructure

With TfL estimating that cycling journeys will treble by 2020 (certainly if the Tube price keeps going up!) we need to get going on putting this cycling infrastructure into place. However as clearly pointed out by the London Cycling Campaign (LCC)  there has been countless urban improvement schemes which have been vetoed by TfL, with the focus on maintaining motor traffic capacity. All this in the face of an increasing body of compelling evidence from London, UK, Netherlands, EU and the USA that shows that installing high-quality cycling facilities increase the capacity for traffic on our streets. On that note this is a great interview with Peter Murray, LCC’s chair of New London Architecture and organizer of the London Cycle Summit – link

As the LCC keeps commenting, it’s desperately sad that so many urban improvement projects – Aldgate, Blackfriars, Elephant & Castle and Vauxhall – are vetoed because it’s not accepted that people can switch from one mode of transport to another. To get functional, safe cycling lanes a reality in London, why doesn’t the Mayor and his cycling commissioner, Andrew Gilligan give Chris Broadman and the folks at British Cycling (namely    the new officer for cycling infrastructure and development) 60million and a strong mandate to force transport for London to implement the proposals with immediate effect. This cycling institution knows exactly what it talking about – leave the elected politicans get the money together and perhaps chair some of the meetings (thats my little compromise). Boris and Mr Cameron I am pretty sure you haven’t cycled across the UK, so I don’t think you have much of the know how to recognize what a nationwide cycling network needs. Leaders such as Boris need to stop focusing on getting the newspaper headlines – I saw this one on E-bikes been mentioned by Boris recently [ Great opinion article here – ‘Before we go electric let’s get back to basics’ ] and just sign the checks. Additionally we might also want to work on that little bit of cyclist-driver tension……a particular scheme article here

And if you question whether this is all possible the 2006-2016 cycling plan in Copenhagen has been estimated to cost DKK 400million or about 45 million pounds and will form over 70km of new cycle tracks and cycle lanes -there is only 560,000 people living in the city, why can’t London afford anything near this investment?

P.S. [If you want further reading on this topic check out:  Infrastructure that will power cycling revolution]


Top 10 Inspirational Videos for Cycling/Triathlon

Morning rides aren't always this inviting

Morning rides aren’t always this inviting

There is nothing like a short sharp video to remind you on why you set that alarm for 5am (after most likely coming in at 2am on a Friday night) to go out and torture yourself on the bike. You may also use them instead of staring at a wall in the gym while you beast it on the spin bike – there is definitely one or two videos that I can weirdly recall all the worlds off by heart like a robot!

So to save time on your little crack of dawn search on YouTube I have put together 10 of the best to help you out of bed. It’s a mix of cycling intensive videos with a healthy dose of just plain universally appealing motivational footage. Enjoy.

[Don’t seem to be linking at the moment]

Best Hawaii Ironman motivation and inspiration

Ironman – Till I Collapse

10 Extreme Triathlons to do before you die – #Triathlonbucketlist


‘The best inspiration is not to outdo others, but to outdo ourselves’

So got into this triathlon craze then? Got all the kit, been posting some decent times? You may even have moved up to the Ironman triathlon.

Well sorry to break it to you, but you aren’t ‘done’ once you have completed an Ironman, not matter how fast you are or how many times you have been on the start line at Kona (mind you fair play if you got there!). Here’s a list of 10 that you need to start planning for (in no particular order).

1. Double Brutal, Llanberis, Wales (@BrutalTriathlon)

Looks scenic, bet the swimmer is hurting though

Looks scenic, bet the swimmer is hurting though

On the 20/21st Sept (2014) competitors will set out on a 4.8 mile swim in the beautiful (cold though!) Lake Padarn, followed by a brutal 224mile cycle which will continue into the darkness. With aching legs and a sore ass – seriously just take a week off work and pedal all day everyday to toughen that backside up – you will set out on a ultra marathon of 52 miles up yet more hills, much like this:

When you are just about standing up,vomiting from 36hours of energy bars and your head swimming with nausea, you probably won't mind the rain

When you are just about standing up,vomiting from 36hours of energy bars and your head swimming with nausea, you probably won’t mind the rain

Think you can handle that? Oh yeah I forgot to tell you the ‘hill’ route, is really climbing up and down Snowdon – the highest mountain in Wales……..You can see why they call it Brutal right?

You can check out the race details here:

2. Savageman Triathlon, Deep Creek Lake State Park, Maryland, USA (@savagemantri)

That devil looks familiar.....I wonder what other cycle race he featured in......

That devil looks familiar…..I wonder what other cycle race he featured in……

The SavageMan 70.0 Triathlon is the flagship event of the SavageMan Triathlon Festival and it has already established legendary status because of some gruelling features:

– The Westernport Wall is one of the unique experiences in any triathlon with a 31% grade lined with screaming, cowbell-ringing crazed spectators.

– As you struggle up the Wall (and as the video below shows, lots of falling off bikes by exhausted competitors) you can look down and see all the names of those athletes who successfully made it up the climb cleanly. That ‘Bill Smith’ is an ass, you don’t want him to beat you right?

-The crossing of the Eastern Continental Divide at Big Savage Mountain, a 7.1 mile, 1950′ elevation gain ascent with multiple, extended stretches approaching 20% is, without doubt, the most Savage climb in all of triathlon. So savage, in fact, that all athletes are timed in their ascent for the Big Savage Challenge.The record ascent of 31:30 has been set, makes you think how long it would take an average athlete – aka that is 40minutes of pain at least!

3. Newton 24 hours of Triathlon, Lake Mills, Wisconsin


So what’s a good opening Ironman, 12hours? 11:30? Well how about doing that non-stop for 24 hours? The Newton Triathlon is a continuous loop short course with a 0.24 mile swim, 11.2 mile bike and 2.6 mile run. Athlete’s compete to cover the most number of laps in 24 hours in either the swim – bike – run or bike – run format. The winning relay team/solo in each category is the one that covers the greatest number of legs/laps in the allotted time, and if there are relay teams/solos completing the same number of laps, then the fastest team/solo on their final lap is the winner. Apparently there is no night swimming……so just you and the road, don’t think that will make it easy though!

4. Silverman Triathlon, 70.3 IRONMAN in the Nevada desert (@NVSilvermanTri)

At least it looks like a good road.....

At least it looks like a good road…..

If you are going to do a half Ironman distance – 1.2 mile swim, 56 mile bike and 12.1 mile run – this is the tough one (there is also a full mind you). During its six-year-run it has drew thousands of competitors and is recognized as one of the toughest courses in North America (including the toughest list by LIVESTRONG).

This recognition has lead to the 2013 IRONMAN 70.3 World Championship (which recently announced that it would rotate between locations around the globe) being held in it’s third and final year in that location. Henderson, Nevada will still host a yearly IRONMAN 70.3 triathlon, so here’s your chance to take part in one of the toughest courses on the pro circuit.

5. Norseman Xtreme Triathon, Eidfjord, Norway (@nxtri)

Reminds you of that fishing program of discovery right? Although these racers are stupid enough to jump in the cold waters!

Reminds you of that fishing program of discovery right? Although these racers are stupid enough to jump in the cold waters!

The Norseman Xtreme Triathlon is a point-to-point race held in Norway’s Hardangerfjord to the local town, Eidfjord, where racers then make a transition on to bikes, cycling 180km (with the first 40km giving an ascent of 1200m above sea level) to Austbygda. In the final ‘run’ leg is a climb up the Gaustatoppen mountain (1880m). Because of racer fatigue and the dangers of weather changes runners have their own personal support crew (this race is unsupported, so you are convincing some of your mates – no doubt paying for them as well, it what must be the most expensive country in the world – to provide you with all your food and drink, massages might be handy too) up the mountain plus they must carry a backpack with emergency food and clothing, To reach the Norseman mountain finish competitors must be within a certain time at the foot of the climb or otherwise you get the lower course route & a different finishers T-shirt (one that I suspect you burn out of disappointment!). Just so you can get an idea of the weight of expectation now on you readers – the male record finishing time is 10:23:43 and the women’s is 12:17:04, so a tad harder than your traditional Ironman!

6. Enduroman Arch to Arc Triathlon (London to Paris, nonstop, including swimming the English Channel) (@EnduromanEvents)

I think this picture represents the race, lots of time to think by yourself!

I think this picture represents the race, lots of time to think by yourself!

The Enduroman Arch to Arc Triathlon is the longest point-to-point organized triathlon I have ever seen – mind you on the day you are either the lone solo or a solo relay team. The triathlon starts with a jog through London and the English countryside, aka 87 mile run (140km) from London’s Marble Arch to Dover on the Kent coast. This is followed by a cross-channel swim (shortest distance 21 miles/33,8km) to the French coast, but you don’t have to follow English Channel swimming rules – no speedos and duck fat necessary, swimsuits allowed. Of course you could try to be like Mark Bayliss (@bigBayliss) and set the solo record with no wetsuit! After that you finally finish with a 180 mile (289,7km) bike from Calais to the Arc de Triomphe in Paric. The clock starts at Marble Arch, London and stops at Arc de Triomphe, Paris. Only 13 athletes have ever completed the challenge, the current record being held at 73 hours and 39 minutes. Rachael Cadman is the first female finisher and has a time at 97h37 on 23 August 2011 (fourth fastest overall).

7. Deca Ironman, Global locations 

Get sick of doing length after length in the pool, well these racers do 2.4 miles every day for 10 days......oh and all the other biking & running

Get sick of doing length after length in the pool, well these racers do 2.4 miles every day for 10 days……oh and all the other biking & running

There are a lot of crazy ultra-events out there, but this one might take the cake, at least for the lack of mental stimulation! The Deca Ironman in Monterrey, Mexico is an annual race in which competitors complete 10 Ironman-distance triathlons in 10 days. The fastest cumulative time wins.

Here’s a description from the Competitor website:

Each day, all of the racers head over to the University of Nuevo Leon. Once athletes complete the 2.4 miles of swimming in the pool, they take to the bike and ride over to the local track about 1.2 miles away. The track is located in the Parque Ninos Heroes. Once at the park, athletes must complete 93 laps around the track to obtain the 180 km of riding. After the bike, athletes run the opposite direction around the same track. The 26.2 marathon is made up of 22 laps.

So basically pain and laps!

If that isn’t enough there was also this year the Triple Deca Ironman attempt by 50 athletes in Brescia, Italy. This event which was designed to see what was possible! no doubt the sport science were queuing up! It was running until the 8th October, I am currently hunting for results! Keep tabs on the website;

8. Red Bull Caveman Triathlon, Belgium 

Next frontier for adventure racing?

Next frontier for adventure racing?

Ok before you get too excited (as I was) this race consists of only a 250 mountain bike, 350 run and a 250 kayak. It was pretty much an exhibition race in Belgium’s Grottes de Han with some of the country’s top runner & mountain bikers, as well as Olympic athletes.

I always enjoyed downhill segments on triathlons until I saw this!

I always enjoyed downhill segments on triathlons until I saw this!

However with races continuing to push the limits of crossing mountains, rivers, deserts my tip is to fully expect Red Bull to take this further and put a World Series on (like their Cliff Diving). I mean its a triathlon in a cave! And there is a huge catalogue of caves around the world which are the size of multiple football pitches………so Red Bull ummmmm *hint*……..

9. SwissMan Xtreme triathlon, Jungfrau, Switzerland (@suixtri)

A race list featuring hills wouldn't be complete without a Swiss entry!

A race list featuring hills wouldn’t be complete without a Swiss entry!

So the second triathlon from the Xtreme series to make the list is the SwissMan (there is also a final third called the Celtman and is suitably Scottish) a race which brings you right from the palm trees in Ascona, southern Switzerland (I swear that is what the website says!) biking over 3 Alpine passes and then a run up to the foot of the Jungfrau Glacier. The dramatic changes in scenery must make this one of the most incredible adventures in an Iron distance triathlon. 

10. Global Triathlon, The World!

Will this include the Pacific in 25 years?

Will this include the Pacific in 25 years?

Dan Martin (@DanMartinAdv) – Endurance cyclist, who has done both South Korea to Cape Town & London to Cape Town – set out on a project to do the Ultimate Triathlon – a global one. The project moved along pretty well – there was  interviews on BBC News for example – but never quite came together. I wish him well for this project in the future.

Lets face it this would be a triathlon career signed off wouldn’t it? No-one has ever done it……challenge laid down readers!

12 Top Endurance Races featuring #CostumeRacers; It is Halloween after all!


So as we all eagerly prepare our costumes for All Hallows Eve (I don’t think we will get trick or treaters in the condos of Singapore expat community!) and Twitter becomes filled with #Halloween hashtags; I am guilty also!

I thought I would touch on some of the most notable events or racers which like the challenge of dressing up. WARNING The entries below are a funny mixture of stupidity, bravery, stubbornness and novelty, complete with some very interesting running sores no doubt!

1. Vincent O’Neill, 89Km Comrades Marathon, South Africa

Rhino finish

The Rhino runner Vincent O’Neill, supported by Asics – I must admit I like there tagline ‘Better Your Best’, followed on from his entry in the 2012 London Marathon (also in a Rhino suit and with the fastest time in Save the Rhino’s history of 4hr 17min [makes you think you should up your game right?]) with a 10hour 38 minute finishing time at the 89km Comrades Marathon. Immense.

Apparently the race was one of the hottest in recent years which must have been just an additional factor with all that chafing in the 11kg suit! Hats off to you Vincent, and we salute your effort to raise funds & awareness to fight rhino poaching.

2. Bogsnorkelling Triathlon in Llanwrtyd Wells, Wales

Try not to shallow a lot of water!

Try not to shallow a lot of water!

The Bog Triathlon first ran in 2005, following a demand for more dirty fun around our famous Waen Rhydd Bog. Whilst embracing the local flora & fauna, competitors will run 7.5 mile run followed by 2 lengths of the 60 yard peat bog trench and then a 19 mile mountain cycle. Make sure you have a shower afterwards!

Check out more on the race and other barney events (bath-tub paddling, penny farthing racing etc)

3. Chariot Racing in in Llanwrtyd Wells, Wales


I wonder if you are allowed to get the spikey bit to stick out the wheels of the cart!?!?

So I couldn’t literally make a list of fancy-dress events from Green Events in Wales, but alongside the ‘traditional’ Bog snorkeling (and one more event to feature later) I have put this gem in. Held in conjunction with the Saturnalia Winter Warmer Real Ale Festival in November this event finally lets you put tha old mountain bike to good use! Bring a good rain jacket though……it is Wales….in winter……..

I loved Ben Hur and always wanted to be a Roman when I grew up. Enough said. (Details here:

4.  Hairy Gorilla Half Marathon, Voorheesville, NY -‘Best Costume Trial Race in the Americas’ – RunnersWorld ‘The Trail’ 2012


Run this year on Sunday 27th October, costumed runners are supported by a host of fancy dress volunteers on a course that runs through Albany Running Exchange’s version of a graveyard. If a half is not your thing, there is always the Squirelly Six mile run. (Details here:

5. Day of the Dead Cyclocross Festival, Oregon

Not just Zombies....unless that fly is on a dead frog!

Not just Zombies….unless that fly is on a dead frog!

1,980 riders in a festival mash-up at Bend, Oregon where the ingredients are comprised of bikes, beer (you gotta have beer), and the dead…..and yes possibly a few random costumes….

A festival of dust, bikes and the dead

A festival of dust, bikes and the dead

And beer!

And beer!

6. Lloyd Scott, The ultimate charity runner

Lloyd is most notable for competing in the 2002 London Marathon in a deep-sea diving costume during which he broke the world record for slowest marathon time. The diving suit he wore is now on display at the National Maritime Museum in Greenwich, London. The number he wore is still attached to the suit on display.

Lloyd is most notable for competing in the 2002 London Marathon in a deep-sea diving costume during which he broke the world record for slowest marathon time. The diving suit he wore is now on display at the National Maritime Museum in Greenwich, London. The number he wore is still attached to the suit on display.

Lloyd Scott, MBE, was back in the day an English former pro football goalie but is now an unstoppable charity fundraiser, best known in the UK for his charity marathons. After surviving leukaemia  Scott has raised more than £5 million for a number of charitable causes, through what he calls “alternative charity fundraising events”, including the list below. Note this is only a highlight and is still epically long. Read down it with a smile and then tweet him some support – @

• April 1989: London Marathon – Just 3 weeks before life saving bone marrow transplant for leukaemia

• November 1993: Everest Marathon – Staged 18,000 feet up the world’s highest peak

• May 1996: Sahara Marathon des Sables – 150 mile ultra marathon carrying all equipment.

• Oct – Jan 96-97: Scott 2 the South Pole – Expedition to the South Pole

• March 1997: 125 mile Devizes to Westminster canoe marathon

• July 1998: Completed 135 mile Death Valley ultra marathon in 140 degrees of heat

• Feb 2001: Climbed Mt Aconcagua, Argentina (22,841ft)

• October 2001: 168km Jordan Desert Cup ultra marathon – dressed as Indiana Jones

• April 2002: London Marathon in deep-sea diving suit – Taking 5 days, 8 hours, 29 mins and 46 seconds to complete; followed by New York CIty & Edinburgh marathons

• August 2003: Completed the Marathon of Britain – 175 mile ultra marathon

• October 2003: Completed the world’s first underwater marathon in deep-sea diving suit in Loch Ness – taking 12 days


• Oct-Dec 2004: Cycled Penny Farthing across Australia – Perth to Sydney nearly 3,000 miles taking 50 days

• May 2005: ‘Swam’ from John O’Groats to Land’s End in swimming pool on back of a lorry, taking 12 days

• September 2005: Completed Great North Run in Apollo 17 spacesuit on bouncy stilts

• April 2006: Completed London Marathon as St George in 100lb suit of armour, pulling 200 lb dragon, taking over 8 days. Helped Sir Steve Redgrave break world fundraising record of £1.8 million


• April 2007: Completed London Marathon as Indiana Jones – ‘chased’ (but really pulling) 350 lb boulder around course


• May 2007: Trekked the Inca trail to Machu Picchu

• April 2008: London Marathon as Iron Giant – 9 feet tall robot, weighing 70 lbs, on stilts taking 6 days


• April 2009: London Marathon as The Beatles (Sgt Pepper uniforms) in the Yellow Submarine

• July – Sept 2009: Land’s End to John O’Groats walk with life size tyrannosaurus rex – ‘T-Rex Treks’ taking 72 days, raising £175,000 for Teenage Cancer Trust

• June 2010 – World’s deepest underground marathon, 12,000 feet down at bottom of world’s deepest mine in, South Africa – sever heat and humidity over 2 miles underground

• April – May 2011: Magic Marathon – dragged around London Marathon as Brian the Snail from the Magic roundabout, taking 27 days

7. Las Vegas Great Santa Run

Like being back in school

Like being back in school

“Now in its 8th year, the Las Vegas Great Santa Run has raised millions of dollars for Opportunity Village and individuals with disabilities. The Great Santa Run has become a must for visitors, a community involvement activity for local businesses, a holiday tradition for families and an international spectacle.”

And for those weekend stag parties it would be the most surreal hangover walking out on this! Not to mention probably strikes an element of fear (:P) – is it just me or does anyone else think a Santa race is just one down from a clown race?!?!

8. Man vs Horse, llanwrtyd Wells, Wales


According to legend this race was created after a drunken argument in the local pub, Neuadd Arms, in 1980, whereby it was suggested that over a significant distance across country, a man was equal to any horse. It was only in 2004, on the 25th race that a man finally beat the horse at 2hours 5minutes and 19 seconds – although after cyclists were allowed in in 1985, Tim Gould beat the first horse by 3 minutes in 1989 – don’t think your 2 wheeled friend is allowed now though! The 2013 race attracted an entry of 65 horses, with 44 completing the course, enabling it to lay claim to being “the world’s largest horse race”. Gripping stuff right? I actually missed out in a chance to do this because of an injury in the Cork marathon, it’s definitely on the list!

You can find out more on wiki of course

Highlights from last year are here:

9 Wife carrying championship

Lets hope this man doesn't just put his head between her thighs during the day....

Lets hope this man doesn’t just put his head between her thighs during the day….

Wife carrying  is a weird viking sport in which male competitors race while each carrying their ‘wife’. The World Championship claims it has been held annually in Sonkajarvi, Finland since 1992, but I have been to some of those places in Scandinavia and Siberia, and there must be some nomad tribes competing in the depths of winter ever since they raped & pillaged the collapsing Roman Empire or parts of Middlesbrough.

The objective is for the male to carry the female through a special obstacle track in the fastest time. Several types of carry may be practised: piggyback, fireman’s carry (over the shoulder), or Estonian-style (the wife hangs upside-down with her legs around the husband’s shoulders, holding onto his waist). The competition also has probably the best prize in sport – your wife’s weight in beer!

Of course this entry wouldn’t be complete without a video

10. Formula H20

Whale racing can only be next.......

Whale racing can only be next…….

Formula H2O Racing is the weird and wonderful sport that features scuba divers competing on diver propulsion vehicles (DPV) around the superstructure of artificial reefs. Didn’t see this at my University fresher’s fair!!

According to Natalie Oriente the Marketing Director for the The Wreck Racing League, Formula H2O racing is a “way to showcase the underwater sights and provide a level of competition not previously available to recreational scuba divers”. Refreshingly the sport also aims to highlight the need for artificial reefs; so a tad more environmental than Formula 1 gas gurgling monster machines and parades of beautiful women – statement of fact rather than a criticism, the movie Rush is currently hot on the mind I must say.

If I have you interested, check out; this video from youtube (insert isn’t working atm:

Or the league website:

11. World Naked Bike Race, Global


The World Naked Bike Ride (WNBR) is an international clothing-optional bike ride in which participants plan, meet and ride together en masse on human-powered transport (the vast majority on bicycles but some on skateboards). So if you have been walking through a major city on a warm sunny day and a load of naked people cycled by this was probably it. And sorry nudists, our capitalist, materialistic world has made clothing compulsory so I will put this in the fancy dress category – German nudists aside!

The dress code motto is “bare as you dare” and I love the wiki quote:

“There is no mandate to cover intimate parts; this is a distinguishing feature of the WNBR against other cycling events.”

You can check out the history of this novelty of human social creativity on wiki, but basically there was lots of Naked Bike Rides – mainly German – but in 2003 Conrad Schmidt conceived the World Naked Bike Ride after organising the Naked Bike Rides of the group Artists for Peace/Artists Against War (AFP/AAW); with the first WNBR event in 2004 being a collaboration between the WNBR group (riding on 12 June) and Manifestación Ciclonudista in Spain (riding on 19 June), establishing a precedent as a solstitial Saturday observance.

You can google your own youtube videos, you pervs.

12. ‘Nasa Astronaunt does Boston marathon in space’

So how do you conclude this weird and whacky list of fancy dress running, cycling and holding one’s breath. Well I googled the final frontier.

A bit surreal, no falling down on this marathon attempt!

A bit surreal, no falling down on this marathon attempt!

210 miles above Earth, Expedition 15 crew member Sunita Williams attempted something no other astronaut has ever done. She ran the Boston Marathon while in orbit on a station treadmill, finishing in a time of 4:23:10 (which for the physics geeks out there was 8mph on the treadmill but flying around the Earth 5 miles a second – circling the planet at least twice). The Boston Athletic Association had issued Williams bib number 14,000, which had been sent electronically to NASA and then forwarded it to Williams.

I have no doubt this achieved her goal – “ to encourage kids to start making physical fitness part of their daily lives. I thought a big goal like a marathon would help get this message out there.” – Sunita Williams.

But the story continues and Sunita also did the Nautica Malibu Triathlon “held in Southern California” using exercise equipment, including a stationary bike, treadmill and strength-training machine specially formulated for weightlessness, to simulate the triathlon experience in space. Her finishing time was 1:48:33  after “swimming” half a mile (0.8 km), biking 18 miles (29 km), and running 4 miles (6.4 km).

Makes you ask what did you do this week right? Some more casual reading on this off-world endurance test can be found at:

Thus concludes our list today

So if you are planning to do something stupid over the next 12 months and don’t mind a bit of chaffing, I hope this blog has stimulated some ideas!

After my own attempt at stupid costumes in the Great North Run I can fully agree - Chafing is a serious problem!

After my own attempt at stupid costumes in the Great North Run I can fully agree – Chafing is a serious problem!