British athlete Ross Edgley has become the first British person to swim the length of Great Britain, completing the 900 mile distance from Lands’ End to John O’Groats in a record time of 62 days.
Speaking of the feat, Ross told Red Bull: “It’s a great feeling and a momentous achievement, but we can’t really celebrate it until we’ve reached the end of the Great British Swim! We’ve still got 600 miles to go to the end, so we’ll probably just have an extra slice of pizza or a nice cake as a team!”
Ross is the second-ever person to complete the swim up Britain’s west coast. His time of 62 days is less than half of the 135 days, including 90 days of swimming, set by Zimbabwean adventurer Sean Conway in November 2013.
Ross is circumnavigating mainland Britain as part of his Great British Swim challenge, which is being documented in weekly vlogs on the Red Bull YouTube channel.
Already on the Great British Swim, Ross has broken a world record for the longest staged sea swim – exceeding the previous record of 73 days.
Ross Edgley also became the first person to swim the length of the English Channel, completing the distance between Margate and Lands’ End inside 30 days.
Ross has now covered 1,137 miles in total since he set off from Margate on June 1. The British adventurer is swimming twelve hours per day – resting on a support boat in between two six hour sessions. Ross is consuming more than 15,000 calories each day – including a total of 380 bananas so far.
Ross has stopped counting the number of jellyfish stings he has suffered and grown a beard to defend himself. He is suffering from ‘salt tongue’ a condition where sea water is dissolving his tongue. More than two kilograms of Vaseline have been used to combat wetsuit chafing.
The 32-year-old’s previous feats include completing a marathon whilst dragging a Mini Cooper and rope climbing the equivalent height (8,848m) of Mount Everest inside 24 hours.
Q & A WITH ROSS EDGLEY
Q: What does it mean to you to be the first British person to swim from Lands’ End to John O’Groats?
A: “It’s a great feeling and a momentous achievement, but we can’t really celebrate it until we’ve reached the end of the challenge! We’ve still got 600 miles to go to the end, so we’ll probably just have an extra slice of pizza or a nice cake as a team.”
Q: Was this record always something in your mind?
A: “We had to set this pace because we needed to get up and around Scotland before the winter set in [in order to complete the full circumnavigation of Britain]. We would have had less daylight hours to swim in and you don’t want to be around Cape Wrath at that time with the autumn winds. What’s weird is the record was just a nice by-product of completing the Scotland in British summertime!”
Q: How are you keeping yourself motivated?
A: “What’s been so nice is you find motivation from anywhere and everywhere when you’re spending so long on your own, looking at the bottom of the sea. You can’t just focus on one thing, you need loads. So obviously family, friends and the wins along the way. Equally it’s really nice what people have done for me along the way like someone in Devon bringing me fudge and a woman who swam to me on the boat with a freshly-baked cake on her head. All the support on social media has turned into a great collective where it feels very British as so many people are getting behind it.
“Sometimes it helps to know there’s an end point and say to yourself ‘we’ve only got the south coast’ but other days it’s like I’ve got the whole of the country to swim. Sometimes you just put one arm ahead of the other and think you just need to get to the next headland and other days you can think of the bigger picture.”
Content credit: Red Bull Media House