“You find the most honest version of yourself in complete exhaustion.“
To be certain, we face great challenges — global climate change, political divisiveness, mass shootings, social & economic disparity, chronic disease, addiction, racism, misogyny – the list goes on.
It’s easy to fall into despair. And yet there is hope. Because heroes walk among us. Look closely and you will find no shortage of unsung angels diligently working anonymously behind the scenes to solve our collective crises. And literal superheroes who remind us that the human spirit knows no boundaries.
I’ve had the good fortune to host more than a few such specimens on this podcast – people like Alex Honnold. James Lawrence who completed 50 ironmans in 50 states in 50 days. And Colin O’Brady, who, as we speak, is attempting to be the first person to cross Antarctica unaided.
And then, there’s Ross Edgley – a gentle, beautiful beast of a man who recently became the very person to swim the entire circumference of Great Britain without once stepping on land. It’s a journey that took him 1,792 miles over 157 days, eclipsing several world records in the process – including the world’s longest staged sea swim.
Ladies and gentlemen, meet the real Aquaman.
And yet this just the latest feat for Ross, a UK-based strongman and adventure athlete of otherworldly grit and determination whose insane feats of strength and endurance include:
- climbing the height of Everest on a rope in one sitting;
- completing a marathon while dragging a Mini Cooper behind him;
- completing a triathlon with a 100 pound tree on his back; and
- swimming 100km in the Caribbean whilst pulling a 100 pound log behind him – which he completed in just 32 hours.
Ross has chronicled his adventures as a fitness expert for magazines like Cosmopolitan, Men’s Health, GQ, The Daily Telegraph and Men’s Fitness and is a Sunday Times Bestselling Author of the aptly titled, The World’s Fittest Book*.
I have both followed and admired Ross for many years. The Universe finally conspired to bring us together. And this conversation is everything I hoped it would be.
Today we focus on the lessons Ross learned during his 5-month swim-circumnavigation of Great Britain.
We explore the importance of purpose. Why you must succinctly understand what drives you — because if you cant explain what you’re preparing for in one sentence, it’s not clear enough.
We talk about what it means to build work capacity. How to make peace with pain. And why strength and endurance need not be mutually exclusive pursuits.
Ross’ achievements are an exploration of the outer limits of fortitude. We tap that well through the prism of Maslow’s hierarchy of needs to better understand how mere survival can catalyze new horizons of human possibility.
And we discuss Ross’ ongoing guinea pig ‘n of 1” experiment in human adaptability – the incredible ability he believes we all have to develop superhuman durability and it’s applicability beyond sport to literally anything.
But more than anything, I wanted to know what compels this modern day Jack LaLane / Aquaman — and what it all means.
Final note: this conversation took place in the midst of the Woolsey Fire a few weeks back. We were evacuated from my home and studio on the interview date thus we were not able to capture this conversation on video. Given the chaos, I’m just happy we could make it work at all. Special thanks to my friends Matthew Wilder and Tamara Dunn for allowing us use of their studio in Venice.
I love this guy. It’s not just Ross’s astounding feats that drew me to his story. It’s how he comports himself that impresses me the most. So please enjoy the wisdom, experience and humor of one of the most extraordinary (and quite lovely I might add) people you will ever encounter.
Peace + Plants,
Special Thanks to Red Bull Content Pool for images and use of additional audio and video content.
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Thanks to this week’s sponsors
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Note: One of the best ways to support the podcast is to support the sponsors. For a complete list of all RRP sponsors and their respective vanity url’s and discount codes, visit my Resources page and click “Sponsors”.
Check out: The World’s Fittest Book: How to Train for Anything and Everything, Anywhere and Everywhere* by Ross Edgley
Background, Context & Reference
- Connect with Ross: Website | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram
- YouTube: Ross Edgley’s Great British Swim | Red Bull (VIDEO) All episodes
- Red Bull: Everything you need to know about Ross Edgley’s Great British Swim
- Red Bull: I climbed the height of Mount Everest – on a rope
- NY Times: First Known Swimmer to Circumnavigate Britain Spent 5 Months at Sea
- BBC News: Storm Callum halts 2,000-mile swimmer Ross Edgley
- BBC News: Ross Edgley sets record for round Great Britain swim (VIDEO)
- CNN: Ross Edgley: How to swim 1792 miles in 157 days
- ABC News AU: Ross Edgley’s 157-day swim around Great Britain sets new benchmark in endurance swimming
- Daily Mail UK: The world’s strongest marathon: 26.2 miles while pulling a 1.4 ton CAR for 19 hours straight
- The Guardian: ‘It was brutal': Ross Edgley completes 157-day swim around Britain
- Men’s Journal: Photos: Ross Edgley Swims 100km Strapped to 100-lb Log
- Triathlon Magazine: Ross Edgley swims 3,200 kilometres around the British Isles
- Tri 247: Ross Edgley to race Red Bull Neptune Steps 2019
Notable People Discussed
- Tim Shieff: Professional English Freerunner, 2009 Barclaycard World Freerun Champ and podcast guest
- John McAvoy: Once one of Britain’s most notorious criminals, he spent 10 years in prison but transformed his life to be a top Ironman Athlete. He is currently the only Nike sponsored triathlete in the world and one of the most popular podcast guests
- Alex Honnold: professional free solo rock climber (Free Solo the Movie) & podcast guest
- David Goggins: Navy SEAL, Endurance Athlete and podcast guest
- Aaron Peirsol: three-time Olympian and seven-time Olympic medalist. U.S. national team member who holds the world record in the men’s 4×100-meter medley relay; podcast guest
- Tim Noakes: South African scientist, and an emeritus professor in the Division of Exercise Science and Sports Medicine at the University of Cape Town
- Captain Webb: was the first recorded person to swim the English Channel for sport without the use of artificial aids. On 25 August 1875, Webb swam from Dover to Calais in less than 22 hours
- Billy Bland: British former long-distance runner. He was one of the most prominent fell runners from the mid-1970s until the late 1980s, and is arguably the best long-distance fell runner in the history of the sport
Related Podcasts You Might
- RRP #313: ÖTILLÖ! Meeting Nature Writ Large
- RRP #379: John McAvoy: From Armed Robbery To Professional Athlete — One Man Reformed Through The Power Of Sport
- RRP #275: Kimberley Chambers Swims With Sharks: The World’s Greatest Female Marathon Swimmer On Turning Adversity To Advantage
- RRP #359: Alex Hutchinson On Redefining The Limits Of Human Performance
- RRP #237: Anthony Ervin: The Rebel Olympian on Chasing Water, Finding Meaning in Gold & The Search For Authenticity
- RRP #145: The Spirit Of Timothy Shieff — Freerunning, The Practice Of Being & Living Transparently
Special Thanks to Red Bull Content Pool for images and use of additional audio and video content. Thanks to Jason Camiolo for production, audio engineering, interstitial music and show notes; Thanks to Moby for this week’s interstitial track: “Lenox“; Margo Lubin and Blake Curtis for video, editing and graphics. Portraits by Ali Rogers. Theme music by Ana Leimma.
*Disclosure: Books and products denoted with an asterisk are hyperlinked to an affiliate program. We are a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for us to earn fees by linking to Amazon.com and affiliated sites.
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