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These days, genuine world records are hard to come by. To truly break an endurance record requires more than just a crushing familiarity with your own hurt locker. You've got to push beyond the boundaries of pain, the limits of fear and an unstoppable, sanity-questioning level of determination.
From astonishing, ground-breaking climbs, to historic marathon moments, take a look at the people who have gone beyond their limits in the name of endurance and redefined what's possible.
ROSS EDGLEY | THE GREAT BRITISH SWIM
This isn't the first fitness phenomenon that Ross Edgley has completed - known for cooking up crazy endurance feats (climbing the height of Everest and completing a marathon whilst pulling a Mini behind him)... Edgely's lastest endeavour involved swimming over 2,000 miles around mainland Great Britain, without once touching land.
Find the full story over on Gymshark Central here: Ross Edgley Completes The Great British Swim.
Stopping only to sleep and eat on his support boat, he powered through jellyfish, busy shipping lanes and visibility-impairing sea mists, swimming an average of 12 hours a day and consuming on average 15,000 calories.
A modern day hero.
ELIUD KIPCHOGE | A MARATHON WORLD RECORD
Most of us would consider a 4:38/mile running pace a sprint, but Olympic gold medallist, Eluid Kipchoge is not your average runner.
The Berlin marathon saw Kipchoge's pacers drop out unexpectedly, leaving him to go it alone for the last 10 miles.
The result? Well, history was made. His blistering pace - an average of 4:38/mile for the entire 26.2 miles - earned him a place in the record books with a final time of 2:01:39...
Kipchoge smashed the previous record holder by 78 seconds.
SEAN CONWAY | FASTEST CYCLE ACROSS EUROPE
"It was second time lucky for Sean Conway when he broke the European cycling speed record in May, after covering 3980 miles from Cabo de Roca in Portugal to Ufa, Russia by bike in 24 days, 18 hours and 39 minutes.
The adventurer, who holds numerous records including a 4200 mile self-supported ‘triathlon’ around Great Britain, first attempted the European record in 2017, but injury forced him to retire. This time, injury-free, he crossed through nine countries, slept in storm drains, woke up next to fresh wolf kill and cycled up to 18 hours a day in constant pain.
He beat the existing world record by nine hours – the equivalent of 21 minutes each day. A margin so fine, Conway later admitted that on a bad day he could lose 21 minutes to traffic lights alone. "And that’s over nearly 4 weeks, so actually, every minute counted."
DENISE MUELLER-KORENEK | CYCLING LAND SPEED RECORD
San Diego's, Denice Mueller-Korenek is officially the fastest person in the world on the bike.
She is so fast, in fact, that she can almost out-ride a jet airplane during take-off. After shattering the women’s land speed record two years ago, the 45-year-old came out of retirement with the sole aim of beating Dutch cyclist Fred Romleberg’s overall cycling speed record of 167mph, set in 1995.
The high-risk attempt, which took place at Utah’s Bonneville Salt Flats, involved the daredevil being tethered to an 800-horsepower race car. Once she reached 90mph, Mueller-Korenek unclipped from the car, drafting it for several miles and pedalling her 35lb custom carbon fibre bike until she clocked a max speed of 183.9mph – around about the speed a Boeing 747 reaches during take-off.
Mueller-Korenek out-rode Romleberg’s world record by around 15mph, writing herself into the history books in the process.
ALEX HONNOLD AND TOMMY CALDWELL | SPEED CLIMB OF EL CAPTAIN'S 'NOSE'
It’s been dubbed the climbing equivalent of breaking a two hour marathon – a feat so out of reach that it’s deemed impossible.
The ‘Nose’ route of the notorious El Capitan rockface in America’s Yosemite National Park is a nail-biting granite route that elite climbers consider an accomplishment if they climb within 24-hours. On 6 June, whilst roped together, highly experienced climbers Alex Honnold and Tommy Caldwell redefined the limits of speed climbing by scaling it in an astonishing 1:58:07.
The pair had already broken the record twice within a month, most recently two days prior with a climb of 2:01:50, but when their rope got stuck, losing them minutes, they decided on a repeat attempt.
PERRINE FAGE | ENDUROMAN ARCH TO ARC
When an Ironman triathlon isn’t challenging enough, the hardcore few sign-up for the Enduroman Arch to Arc – a brutal test of endurance which sees insanely fit competitors run 140km from London’s Marble Arch to Dover, swim the English Channel and, finally, cycle 288km to Paris’ Arch de Triomphe.
On 19 August, French lawyer Perrine Fage lined up to start her second Arch to Arc attempt, completing the 140km run in 18 hours 33 minutes, despite the stress of her crew car being broken into and having her passport stolen.
She swerved the opportunity to sleep for 8-hours, seized the moment and swam through the night to complete her Channel crossing in 20 hours 31. ‘All’ that was left was an epic 288km bike to Paris to seal the deal – and see her set a new women’s world record of 67 hours 21 minutes, beating the existing record by over two and a half hours.