Ultra-endurance cyclist Mark Beaumont says he feels elation and “utter relief” after obliterating the record for travelling around the world on a bike.
The adventurer set off from France in July on a mission to circumnavigate the globe in 80 days and arrived back in Paris on day 79 of the journey, 24 hours ahead of schedule.
The Scot is awaiting official verification he has set a new Guinness World Records title but it is expected to be confirmed that he has succeeded in knocking 44 days – a third – off the previous record of 123 days.
READ MORE: Leader comment: Bravo to Beaumont
Edinburgh-based Beaumont, 34, completed the epic 18,000-mile Artemis World Cycle challenge despite three serious falls off his bike and facing conditions such as fierce head winds, sub-zero temperatures and forest fire smog.
He put his success down to “grit, the ability to suffer” and declared: “This has been, without doubt, the most punishing challenge I have ever put my body and mind through.”
On completing the expedition, he told Press Association Scotland: “I guess the biggest emotion is relief, utter relief. This has been years in the planning.
“Since I was a 12-year-old kid who pedalled across Scotland, the ambitions have got bigger over the last two decades.
“For me, this was the ultimate. So [I feel] relief, elation, it’s just wonderful to see my beautiful wife and two daughters who have supported me brilliantly through this. I definitely owe them a bit of time now.”
The record-breaking moment was aired on Facebook Live, with his official page saying “Made it to the finish line in under #80days”.
Inspired by Jules Verne’s classic adventure novel Around The World In Eighty Days, Beaumont set off from under the Arc de Triomphe on July 2.
He has travelled through 16 countries during his four-stage challenge, with the first stage seeing him travel through Europe to Russia and Mongolia, culminating in Beijing. His attempt to reclaim the world record later took him across Australia, New Zealand and North America. He then arrived back in Europe for a final push from Lisbon to Paris. The long-distance athlete had to complete 240 miles a day – spending 16 hours in the saddle after less than five hours sleep per night – to stay on schedule. Over the course of the 79 days, Beaumont faced numerous physical and mental challenges, including a fall in Russia on day nine, in which he broke a tooth and suffered a hairline fracture to his left elbow. He came off the bike again in New Zealand and just days ago in the Pyrenees.
Beaumont cites Russia as the toughest country to traverse while the weather conditions in the southern hemisphere, Canada and the US proved challenging.