Thursday, 6 May 2010

Whereeeeerrrreeereee has the t-shirt been this week!

Sir Ranulph Fiennes posed for a photo with the Run Geordie Run t-shirt last week. This week, it was the the turn of another living legend; Mark Beaumont - The man who cycled around the world and more recently the man who cycled the Americas. Both of these quite amazing expeditions have been seen on the BBC and are nothing short of extraordinary. 

Mark started his 18,297 mile record breaking journey around the world on August 5th 2008. Incidentally, that date was the start of my final week on the 874 mile run from John O'Groats to Lands End. A journey which Mark cycled himself. At the age of 15! 

Mark smashed the record by a staggering 81 days, completing the journey in 194 days and 17 hours! Just think about those figures for a minute and you'll soon realise what an amazing achievement that was. 

I was lucky enough to see Mark's Tour on Tuesday at The Custom's House in South Shields. The theatre was packed, just like many other places on his tour as I understand it. After listening to him it's not difficult to see why.

The first hour was all about the first journey around the world. Mark's delivery was very entertaining and articulate and gave a quite amazing insight into his incredible journey. I shook my head and raised my eyebrows many times throughout this first session in utter amazement. I don't want to give too much away for people who haven't read the book but what this guy has been through and how he has pushed the boundaries of human performance, endurance and mental strength is quite remarkable.

I find it impossible to put a sentence together when writing this piece without using a ton of superlatives. I make no apologies for that. Mark deserves all of the superlatives that go his way. After following him for the last 8 months on Twitter I think "Inspirational" is quite a common one used by lots of folk.

The second hour of the show went on to explain all about the journey down the Americas from a documentary maker's point of view. If you've seen the recent BBC documentary you'll know that Mark, for the most part, did all of the filming. Just like the first hour I found this section fascinating.  Even more so, like so many thousands of other people, having followed this particular journey on Twitter. It all seemed so familiar and, just like the documentary, really helped bring the whole thing to life for me and I'm sure many others.

Mark signed lots of copies of his book in the foyer afterwards and made time for many people (like me) to take a photograph and answer questions. Nothing seemed to be a bother as he dealt with a long and seemingly enthusiastic queue of good folk. 

I've corresponded with Mark on Twitter on a few occasions and he follows my numerous updates. For a guy of his stature to be aware of what I'm trying to achieve next year is something I simply can't find the words to describe. I have many virtual weapons in my armoury for USA 2011 and this is one of the major ones.

Just like the documentaries this tour leaves you wanting to learn more about the world of Mark Beaumont. Without wanting to sound too patronising, youth is very much on his side and he could, in my opinion, go on to achieve so much more in the future. In doing that, the knack he seems to have developed in sharing his adventures will keep a growing captive audience very happy and inspired indeed.

I started this piece talking about Sir Ranulph Fiennes. What price a Sir Mark Beaumont in the future? Whatever he chooses to do in the future it is clear that he has certainly achieved so much already. Who knows how many thousands of people he has inspired to date. Even the most casual of observers would have been inspired and amazed by the recent Americas documentary.

Sadly, my words will never be able to do Mark's expeditions justice so I would strongly urge you to buy his book and read all about it yourself. It can be ordered here. Mark is also on Twitter here and online here.

Oh and if I ever manage to top this latest "Wheeeerrrrrrreeeee has the t-shirt been this week" feature on this website, it will probably mean that Elvis has been found alive and well!