Smashing Paradigms – Mark Beaumont

{latest in a developing series on Smashing Paradigms}

For my story-telling explanation of the definition of a Paradigm, see “What is a Paradigm“. 

One way of defining a paradigm is “an unconsciously held belief that limits us from fresh thinking” or “we’ve always done it this way”



“On 18 September 2017, Mark Beaumont arrived in Paris having completed a circumnavigation of the globe by bicycle in 78 days 14 hours, and 40 minutes. This beat his previous unsupported attempt by 115 days and beat the previous world record by 44 days and 10 hours.”

“The Guinness World Record (GWR) for fastest circumnavigation of the globe by bicycle is awarded for completing a continuous journey around the globe by bicycle and other means, consisting of a minimum 29,000 km in total distance cycled.”


Take that in for a moment. Now imagine doing this. 18000 miles. 78 days. 240 miles a day. 4 hours sleep a day for 78 days. Unthinkable ? Paradigms Smashed !? I’d say so ! To break the existing record by over a third, by 44 days….one could even say “Unbelievable” ?

Was it all of those things to Mark though ? Not at all !

I am privileged and grateful that Mark and i have been friends for years. In Autumn 2016 we sat down and he let me into what was at that time a closely held secret, that he was planning a BIG adventure and that it was to take the seminal “Around the world in 80 days” theme and smash it on a bike !

As I sat with him it was clear to me that he would succeed. Yes, I am known for having strong belief in people, yet what was far stronger than that was Mark and his massive belief in himself and his vision, as well as his proven resilience in past global adventures.

Just consider one thing Mark had to say about resilience :

“By the time you get into the second month, it’s amazing what the body adapts and gets used to.”

The second month. Not the first month, or week, or day, or hour.. he was talking about coping with injury. Me ? The longest I’ve cycled in one day was a little over 100 miles, and I felt niggles and injuries then. 240 miles a day for 78 days in a row ? “The body adapts?”. That is a level of resilience and grit that is beyond the ken of all but a very few on this planet !

Having created that vision and belief, Mark then planned for the mission and executed the plan. Simple ? Perhaps. Easy ? No ! Brutal, and absolutely Ultra-Endurance.

For business owners and leaders who get the opportunity to listen to Mark speak, there are many lessons to learn from this inspirational leader. I am often in awe myself listening to my friend tell his stories !

(As an aside, I am excited to have signed Mark up to speak at the Academy for Chief Executives – City of London – Summer Retreat on June 22/23 2018. Quite the kick off to an amazing event, there will be limited spaces open for qualified business leaders to sign up !)

<> on September 18, 2017 in Paris, France.

Now, an unintended consequence of Mark’s massive achievement is that he has shifted belief hugely in the community of those involved in the sport of competitive cycling. The media interest has been intense and unceasing, with Mark interviewed and featured in many cycling media.

Out of this has grown first understanding and then recognition of the sport of Ultra-Endurance cycling. Interview after interview sees professional journalists and past professional cyclists in absolute awe at the achievement.

Single-handedly, Mark has pretty much created a new competitive area within the sport of cycling, that of Ultra-Endurance.

Now that he has smashed the paradigm, I would expect to see more and more athletes attracted to ultra-endurance and records smashed in many ways in the coming years. Remember though, leaders go first. Mark was the first !

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