BAMLife Issue 2 - Page 9

Read more at bambooclothing.co.uk Andy North endurance world records l l l Running a marathon and cycling 100 miles each day consecutively from Lands End to John O’Groats (six days; 16 hrs; 24 mins). ‘Race to Space’ cycling 100,000ft of ascent and descent on Tour de France stage: Mont Ventoux (19.35 times in four days; 16 hrs; 14 mins). Sunshine Challenge, running 25 marathon distances, cycling 1,500 miles and kayaking the Thames and English Channel from Yorkshire to Gibraltar (43 days) The journey so far Whilst I enjoyed many sports at school such as gymnastics, table tennis, badminton, football, rugby and cross country running, I was never in the top 25%, I was enthusiastic and wanted to emulate the top athletes but my reality wasn’t good enough physically or mentally. Of course we all develop at different rates. I imagine this must defeat many young minds, and dash plenty of dreams and aspirations in professional sport. I qualified as a chef aged 20 eventually becoming an area manager for a contract catering company aged 30 and dad to my three girls. I then started a successful catering company with over 50 restaurants across the UK. Like many I juggled the tricky life / work / family balance. Throughout my 20s and 30s I maintained my dream of being outdoors, occasionally going out for walks or a short jog as a form of release but with limited focus on health, fitness and nutrition. I felt that family and career always came first and took over most of my life. This is the natural order of things in the world we live in. I was trapped in a cycle of work and family after which came me. My mind wandered onto adventure and endurance events and I devoured books from Sir Ranulph Fiennes on his expeditions, Stu Middleman who was the first person to run across America and Mark Beaumont smashing the round the world cycling record. I had questions floating around my head: How did they train? Survive? How did their minds cope with solitude? What did they eat? It just raised many more questions? All this got me thinking about whether an everyday guy, now in their mid 40s, could tackle a big challenge. My opportunity came when I heard about a trail from Ilkley to Bowness on Lake Windermere, I could try my own mini adventure, three days and 89 miles. I joined Airecentre Pacers running club, got some kit, a map and food. I departed early one morning with 32 miles of running ahead on the first day, just me and my first taste of adventure. As you would expect things didn’t quite go to plan and I can recall the painful legs and making up songs to try to take my thoughts away from the pain. I arrived in Bowness the end of the Dales Way with a huge smile, hobbling with pain and thinking ‘Right what’s next?’ I read about ultra distance runner and world record holder Sharon Gayter and couldn’t believe it when she phoned me back encouraging me to try running and cycling from Lands End to John O’Groats, over 1,000miles. I wanted to give something back and help our Soldiers and their families after the Iraq war, raising money for ABF The Soldiers Charity. This was the genesis of the Ultra6 Challenge team, a community of like minded people led by fellow BAMbassador Ben Wood and I who wanted to push themselves with extreme challenges, inspire others and raise money for good causes. We have completed incredible challenges and more importantly raised lots of money for charity and inspired young people working with www.inspiredlife.org. Success with any new healthy idea is being confident about the sources of information, belief that it works, and then making it a habit, something that becomes a regular part of your routine. I use my diary and track my new good habits and make these my focus. Whilst you may not be interested in world records, or endurance events I hope that you will find some of my lessons helpful for better health and well-being in your life. My opportunity came when I heard about a trail from Ilkley to Bowness on Lake Windermere, I could try my own mini adventure 9