Richard Parks, former Welsh rugby international turned extreme adventurer, broadcaster and writer, visited Edge Hill to deliver a public lecture titled Living Life to the Extreme: Sport, Achievement, Endurance as part the University’s Celebrating Sport events.
Many attended the public lecture, during which Richard discussed how the psychological, physical, technical and emotional aspects of being an elite sportsman have translated into his extreme expeditions and, in turn, how these are a metaphor for life. He looked to his own experiences and provided an inspirational evening of adventure and success, and after the lecture he signed copies of his first book Beyond the Horizon and posed for photographs with everyone.
When asked about how he manages to succeed in some of his toughest challenges and in day to day life, Richard said:
“Perseverance is key. If you take for granted that all high performance athletes have the right genetics, skills and coaches, at some point we are all going to be faced with challenges in life or in sport. I think the concept of not giving up and perseverance is at the core of what I do and Thomas Edison who invented the light bulb posed the thought, ‘many of life’s failures are people who didn’t realise how close they were to success when they gave up’, and he’s nailed it there for me.”
In the video below, Richard talks about his transition from rugby to extreme sports, how setting the record for the ‘737 Challenge’ has changed his life and how preparation is the key to success with these extreme adventures.
Richard made history in July 2011 becoming the first ever person to climb the highest mountain on each of the world’s 7 continents and stand on all 3 poles (The North Pole, The South Pole and the summit of Everest) within 7 months.
His record setting ‘737 Challenge’ was completed in 6 months, 11 days, 7 hours and 53 minutes and raised over £326,000 in aid of Marie Curie Cancer Care whilst creating an advertising value worth over £3 million to the cancer charity. On 4th January 2014, Richard then became the fastest Brit in history to reach the South Pole, solo, unassisted and unsupported. He also became the first Welsh person to ski solo to the South Pole.
He skied 1,150km (715 miles) from the geographical coastline of Antarctica to the South Pole in 29 days, 19 hours and 24 minutes, taking an astonishing 9 days off the previous record. Richard also set the second fastest time for a solo, unsupported and unassisted journey in history and in over 100 years of polar exploration.