Interview with The Race Ambassador Mark Beaumont

Mark Beaumont is a Scottish record-breaking endurance cyclist, adventurer, broadcaster and author. He has made a number of documentaries of his achievements with the BBC and we are thrilled to announce him as an ambassador for The Race 2016. We caught up with Mark to chat about his past experience, training for The Race and the difference between physical and mental preparation for an endurance event.

 

What are your reasons for wanting to compete in The Race?

MB3For a long time I have wanted to explore Donegal, and what better way than The Race! It will be a very different sort of challenge for me, as I am more used to expeditions that last weeks or months, so I am excited and rightfully nervous about the prospect. The Race will certainly be a good motivator to keep the training steady over the winter months.

So what kind of experience have you achieved to date in terms of Endurance events?

My only adventure race experience was the Great Kindrochit Quadrathlon, in Scotland, which my team-mate and I won and which gave me the motivation to try more competitive events, as opposed to expeditions. Over the past decade I have cycled around the world, the length of the Americas and recently set the Africa World Record, Cairo to Cape Town (10,800km) in 41d 10h.

Outside cycling I reached 800 miles north of the Arctic Circle in an ocean rowing boat and survived capsize when attempting the mid-Atlantic WR. In the mountains I am a ski instructor and climbed a few interesting places, including Denali and Aconcagua. A few years ago I ran and swam across Scotland, which was seriously tough… I am a reluctant runner and slow swimmer, so happiest on two wheels!

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Typically your challenges take place alone and over a longer time frame. How will you tailor your training this winter to prepare for The Race? 

I have been so focussed on cycling in the past year that I will need to put a massive focus on running and swimming over the winter. Living in rural Perthshire, Scotland, there is phenomenal trail running, so it will be a case of digging out the head torch and heading for the hills during the darkest months. I am certainly used to suffering alone, so it will be great to have some company on The Race! 

I am certainly used to suffering alone, so it will be great to have some company on The Race!

Mental resilience is something you must be very accustomed to. Is there a point in any of your adventures that stands out as your toughest mental challenge to date?

Capsizing mid Atlantic and fighting for 14 hours to survive was certainly a make or break scenario - some of my team broke and couldn’t cope, so I had to dig very deep to help save the lives of the six rowers. In less dramatic circumstances, cycling the length of Africa is the hardest I have pushed myself as an athlete, in the final week pushing about 350km a day and getting limited sleep.