Sean Conway is an endurance adventurer who recently became the first person in history to swim the length of Great Britain - Land's End to John O'Groats. Sean also climbed Kilimanjaro dressed as a penguin and cycled 16,000 miles through 6 continents in 116 days and doing most of it with a fractured spine after getting run over by a truck in America. His never-give-up attitude captured the imagination of many and he is now giving talks about setting your goals high, challenging yourself and overcoming tough times.
In 2012 Sean Conway gave up his photography job to try to break the record for cycling around the world. His dream came to an abrupt end when he was hit by a truck and badly injured in Arkansas, USA. After two weeks of recovery he managed to get back on his bike and continue his journey. In 2013 he became the first person to swim the length of Britain. Sean has also cycled the length of Britain and in 2015 he ran it unsupported, making him the first person to complete a British ‘triathlon’. Sean has also climbed Kilimanjaro dressed as a penguin and once dislocated his shoulder cheese-rolling in Gloucestershire. He lives in Cheltenham and is currently restoring a Second World War boat.
"Hellish ... Conway is hardcore" Evening Standard
"Britain's most inspiring maniac" Shortlist
In June 2013 Sean Conway set out from Land’s End in his bid to be the first person to swim the length of Britain. It was a challenge so extreme that not only had it never been attempted before, but most of the sponsors Sean approached turned him down as they were worried that he would die trying.
Landlocked Cheltenham – Sean’s hometown – isn’t really the ideal place to train for a long sea swim, and he only managed three miles in a local pool before setting off from Land's End. Once in the water Sean had to develop incredible mental strength to deal with the extreme cold and hours alone. He also needed to devise ways to take on the huge number of calories he needed to sustain him. On the support boat he and his three-man crew had to cope with storms, seasickness and living in close proximity for months. After taking a few jellyfish stings to the face, Sean decided to grow a huge beard to protect himself.
The physical challenge was gruelling, but came with unexpected rewards. Sean swam with dolphins and seals and among stunning night-time phosphorescence. He had a unique view of the British coast, discovering tiny hidden coves and exploring shipwrecks. When there were problems with the support boat, Sean and his crew met many kindly people who were willing to come to their aid.
This is a remarkable and funny story about how anything is possible if you truly put your mind to it.