First ever person to swim, run and cycle length of Britain to speak at Edinburgh University talk

The event is run by the Royal Scottish Geographical Society.

Thursday, 5th December 2019, 5:00 pm
Updated Friday, 6th December 2019, 4:20 pm
Sean Conway at John O' Groats. Picture: Sean Conway.

A world record holder and extreme adventurer will share the lessons he has learned from his adventures at an Edinburgh University talk run by the Royal Scottish Geographical Society (RSGS) today.

Sean Conway is the only person to have cycled, run, and swam the length of Britain, and holds the record for the fastest unsupported cycle across Europe.

The Zimbabwean 38-year-old has performed so many jaw-dropping feats that he had tests done to see if he has any abnormal genes which could explain his feats of endurance.

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Picture: Sean Conway.

But it turned out he is no different - genetically at least.

Mr Conway’s adventures began in 2011 when, earning a low wage as a freelance photographer in London, he decided to shut up shop and go on an adventure.

“I sort of sold my old life to pursue a late gap year,” he said.

“I had no money but I thought if I could break some kind of record I could get some sponsorship.”

Mr Conway then sold his photography business for £1 and set off to try and break the world record for the fastest cycle around the world.

But after three weeks his plans ground to a halt when he was hit by a car and his spine was fractured.

Despite this Mr Conway continued his trip, making it back to London after cycling 12,000 miles with a fractured spine.

This became one of many setbacks which he believes have made him stronger.

“It hasn’t always been easy - I’ve failed but I’ve picked myself up and had another crack at it,” he said.

On returning from his cycle he went back to his mother’s house and tried to find work.

But after a year without success he decided to think of ‘another silly idea’ and see if he could get funding for that.

He then swam the length of Britain, and has been a full-time adventurer ever since.

“I’m hoping people will take something from my story and apply it to their own life, and to their own goals.” he said.

Mike Robinson, Chief Executive of RSGS, said: “I hope our audiences in Scotland will come away feeling inspired to head out into our country’s wild spaces and challenge themselves.”

Mr Conway will speak at Appleton Tower today at 7.30pm. Tickets £10.