Record breaking endurance athlete Mark Beaumont inspires at BSAVA

13 April 2016

Mark Beaumont, 33-year-old ultra-endurance adventurer and documentary maker who has travelled to 130 countries, can now add BSAVA Speaker to his list of achievements, as he headed up a talk at the BSAVA Congress on Thursday.

“I have a real affinity with animals and the veterinary world as I grew up on a farm. I was home-schooled and didn’t go to school until I was 11 so all of my early years were filled with animals and living on the land. Growing up outside led me to thrive on adventure and at the age of 12 I cycled across Scotland and then at 15 I cycled from John o’ Groats to Land’s End.&”

Having completed secondary school and his early cycling achievements, Mark went to Glasgow University to study economics, which was leading him down the career path of becoming an Accountant or returning to rural Scotland to be a farmer but he decided he’d begin with another two-wheeled adventure.

“Cycling around the world was a post-university challenge which I decided to do to test my endurance and to raise money for charity. It opened up so many opportunities to me afterwards, it was amazing.”

To most people cycling 18,000 miles around the world is unimaginable but once Mark decided to do it there was no stopping him. Not only did he cycle around the world but he completed it in just 194 days which smashed the previous world record.

Mark then cycled down the length of the Rockies and Andes and has also climbed the highest mountains in Alaska and Argentina. And his adventures don’t end there. Off the bike, Mark attempted to row across the Atlantic Ocean from Morocco to Barbados in a bid to break the world record in 2012.

“I had cycled around the world but I wanted to join the dots by rowing across the oceans too. Without doubt attempting to cross the Atlantic was the toughest challenge I’ve done. There was a team of six of us rowing two hours on and two hours off, 24 hours a day with only 90 minutes of sleep at a time for 27 days. It was hard. We were making great progress and with only 500 miles to go we’d thought we’d broken the record until on day 28 a massive wave capsized our boat.”

Mark and the team then spent a very long 14 hours in the water fighting for their lives when eventually a Taiwanese cargo vessel managed to rescue them.

“Getting onto the huge vessel in the middle of the night was almost as hard as being in the water for 14 hours, it was an ordeal to say the least&” Mark commented.

“That’s not the only one of my expeditions to have failed, in fact around a third of my trips haven’t gone to plan but I think it is important to fail in order to learn from it.

Now that I am a Dad I won’t be putting myself into such a dangerous situation again or have long periods away from home so I intend to focus on speed attempts over shorter periods of time from now on.&”

With a large number of university friends who are vets from university attending, Mark was delighted to speak at the BSAVA Congress.

“I’m hoping that my talk on resilience and the logistics involved in planning my expeditions gives the delegates some helpful information to take back into their own worlds.”

So what’s next for this boundary pushing, straight talking and motivating endurance athlete?

“I was inspired by the world’s greatest adventurers when I was younger who spent their time discovering the world. Now we are in an age where we all pretty much know what our world looks like. For this generation it is about human endeavour and how human beings can push themselves further and harder, both physically and mentally, and I want to be a part of it.”