In 2016 I decided to make an attempt at the 24 Hour World Record on non flowing water. A new 24 hour distance of 177km had just been set my a professional athlete in her twenties. So, this was going to be a tough challenge.
Unfortunately, after catching a parasite in the middle of 2016 and a pretty hectic race schedule I decided to delay until early 2017.
At the beginning of 2017 I read a 23 year old fitness trainer was about to make an attempt at increasing the male World Record for 24 hours. I therefore, decide to delay again and make an attempt to beat both the female and the male World Record.
The male WR was increased to 179km, so this was my new goal. This World record was set on a 17’6 unlimited board and I would be making my attempt on a 14′ stock board.
I made the attempt on 2nd April on the Grand Union Canal in the UK. I paddled from 10am for 24 hours. During the 24 hours I took 4 stops, 3 stops being 90 seconds long to change food and hydration pack and one 3 minute stop to change into warmer clothing for the night section.
I had a couple of hours of wind at the beginning of the attempt but I worked at keeping my speed high. At the end of 13 hours I will still paddling with an overall average speed of 8.1kph. In the night section the temperature went down to freezing and I got pretty cold. I also could not see the debris in the water and quite frequently had to stop and paddle backwards to clear my fin as I was watching my speed drop to 4kph. The canal also had some very shallow areas. These areas were reducing my speed. They were easy to avoid during daylight but impossible to avoid during darkness. I was struggling to keep my speed up during the night as I was feeling cold, nauseous and my muscles were screaming with pain. The darkness seemed to last forever.
When the sun rose around 7am my overall average speed had dropped to 7.7kph and I still had 3 hours to go. Sadly, the daylight brought the wind with it. I was mentally struggling with pain, tiredness and now had wind to deal with.
Racing is much easier than a time controlled challenge. Time does not account for tiredness, bad water conditions or wind.
I finished the challenge completing 180km. Therefore broke both the male and the female World Record.
I will look at changing a few details and make another attempt later in the year. I would like my distance to be 185km.