Ross Edgley

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Ross Edgley training for his 1,780-mile swim around Great Britain

Ross Edgley (born 13 October 1985) is a British adventurer, ultra-marathon sea swimmer and author. Considered a leading expert on mental and physical fortitude, he holds multiple world records but is best known for becoming the first person in history to swim 1,780 miles all the way around Great Britain, completing it in 157 days. Declared The World's Longest Sea Swim in 2018[1] by the World Open Water Swimming Association,[2] in 2020 his book documenting the journey was published (titled The Art of Resilience) and became a No.1 Sunday Times Bestseller.


Edgley was born into a sporting family in Grantham, Lincolnshire.[3] His father was a tennis coach, his mother was a sprinter and his grand parents were marathon runners and in the military. He graduated from Loughborough University's School of Sport and Exercise Science. He was listed in the World's 50 Fittest Men of 2016 by[4]

Athletic achievements[edit]

The World's Strongest Marathon (2016)[edit]

Commencing at midnight on 22 January 2016, Edgley began a marathon (26.2 miles (42.2 km)) around the Silverstone circuit in Northamptonshire, pulling a 1,400 kilograms (3,100 lb) Mini Countryman car. The event was dubbed "The World's Strongest Marathon". As part of his training for the event he went on a special 6,000 calorie plus daily diet and had already done a 16 miles (26 km) pull with the Mini during training. He completed the marathon endeavour in 19 hours, 36 minutes and 43 seconds. The marathon raised money for the Teenage Cancer Trust, Children With Cancer, Sports Aid and United Through Sport.[5]

The World's Longest Rope Climb (2016)[edit]

At 9am on 22 April 2016, Edgley began his "World’s Longest Rope Climb" conquest at Pippingford Park in the Ashdown Forest of Sussex, in which he completed a rope climb of 8,848 metres (29,029 ft), the exact height of Mount Everest,[6] in 19 hours and 54 minutes. The money raised went to the Teenage Cancer Trust.[7]

The Great British Swim (2018)[edit]

Edgley's support boat Hecate

Between June and November 2018, Edgley completed a 157-day 1,792 miles (2,884 km) swim around Britain.[8] Aided by a team of experts which monitored the tides and his health in his 16 metres (52 ft) support boat Hecate, he typically swam for six hours, rested for six hours, and swimming another six hours etc.[9] He typically consumed around 15,000 calories a day, eating pizza, pasta, noodles, Shepherd's pie, porridge, biscuits, natural yogurt, peanut butter, coconut oil, bananas and other fruits and vegetables and guzzling green shakes before every swim. By mid October he had consumed 554 bananas.[10] The gruelling swim took its toll on his body, disintegrating his tongue through the eroding effect of the salt, giving him "Rhino Neck" from the effect of the wetsuit rubbing, and his feet entirely losing their arches and turning a deep purple and yellow. The team treated him with Sudocrem, Vaseline, plasters, bin bags and duct tape.[9]

Edgley's journey was documented as a weekly internet series, "Ross Edgley's Great British Swim", produced by Red Bull TV. After completing the swim in Margate on 4 November 2018, the World Open Water Swimming Association announced it as the World Swim of the Year 2018 and it became officially recognised as "The World's Longest Staged Sea Swim."[11] He also broke several other records during the swim by becoming the first and fastest person to swim the length of the English Channel from Dover to Land's End over 350 miles (563 km) in 30 days and becoming the fastest person to swim the 900 miles (1,400 km) from Land's End to John o' Groats in 62 days.[10] Talking about his historic swim he said, "It's my hope that people remember the Great British Swim as an example or experiment in both mental and physical fortitude."[12]


Other feats include a 1,000 mile barefoot run in a month carrying a 50-kg backpack, an Olympic Distance Triathlon carrying a 100-lb tree, swimming over 100 km across the Caribbean Sea pulling a 100-lb tree,[13][14] swimming non-stop for 48 hours at the Commando Training Centre for the Royal Marines, and completing 30 Marathons in 30 days.

The World's Fittest Book[edit]

In May 2018, Edgley published The World's Fittest Book, which combines the teachings, tips and tricks of Olympic champions, world record holders and celebrated military personnel and knowledge he had acquired from extensive travelling around the world. It took over 10 years to research and write, with Edgley visiting over 100 countries and documenting a wide range of phenomenon from ice-cold waterfall meditation by the Yamabushi monks in Japan to ultra marathon running in the Namibian wilderness. The book became a Sunday Times Bestseller.[15]


  1. ^ Magra, Iliana (2018-11-04). "First Known Swimmer to Circumnavigate Britain Spent 5 Months at Sea". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2020-09-16.
  2. ^ Fitzgerald, Quinn (2019-01-01). "Ross Edgley's Great British Swim Voted 2018 World Open Water Swimming Performance of the Year". WOWSA. Retrieved 2020-09-16.
  3. ^ "'Grantham force was strong' says record-breaking swimmer Ross Edgley". Grantham Journal. 9 November 2018. Retrieved 19 November 2019.
  4. ^ Editors, AskMen. "Ross Edgley - Flex 50: The Fittest Men of 2016". AskMen. Retrieved 31 January 2019.CS1 maint: extra text: authors list (link)
  5. ^ "Man completes marathon in 19 hours – pulling a 1,400kg Mini car". The Telegraph. 24 January 2016. Retrieved 24 February 2020.
  6. ^ "How and Why I'm Attempting The World's Longest Rope Climb (8 8 48m)". Retrieved 24 February 2020.
  7. ^ "What I learnt from climbing a rope repeatedly until I'd scaled the height of Everest". GQ. 28 April 2016. Retrieved 24 February 2020.
  8. ^ Halliday, Josh (4 November 2018). "'It was brutal': Ross Edgley completes 157-day swim around Britain". The Guardian. ISSN 0261-3077. Retrieved 31 January 2019.
  9. ^ a b Hunt, Elle (5 November 2018). "'Chunks of my tongue came off – you could see the tastebuds': Ross Edgley on swimming around Great Britain". The Guardian. Retrieved 24 February 2020.
  10. ^ a b "The 15,000 Calorie Diet Fuelling Ross Edgley's Swim Around Great Britain". 16 October 2018. Retrieved 24 February 2020.
  11. ^ "Ross Edgley sets record for round Great Britain swim". BBC. 4 November 2018. Retrieved 4 November 2018.
  12. ^ Jackson, Amanda. "After 5 months at sea, Ross Edgley completes swim around Great Britain". CNN. Retrieved 7 November 2018.
  13. ^ Edgley, Ross. "How I trained to run a triathlon while carrying a tree". GQ. Retrieved 14 November 2018.
  14. ^ Larbi, Miranda (23 March 2017). "Meet Ross Edgley: the real life Action Man who runs with trees tied to his back". Metro. Retrieved 4 November 2018.
  15. ^ "Ross Edgley". 13 December 2018. Retrieved 24 February 2020.


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