Life brings mental health challenges, particularly for people who have served in the military, and I am a great believer in using physical activity to promote mental as well as physical health. This has been my approach, and I haven’t done it by halves.
I like to take a sport I’ve never done before and set myself the toughest challenge possible. So I started cycling and immediately looked for a record to break, then in 2018 I became the first person to cycle the 14,000-mile Pan-American highway in under 100 days, raising £900,000 for the Heads Together mental health campaign.
My next challenge is to be the first person ever to kayak the length of the Nile, from the source of the river in Rwanda all the way more than 4000 miles north to where it empties into the Mediterranean in Cairo. I was supposed to try in 2020 until Covid got in the way, but I am hoping to make the attempt later this year.
My Dad is brilliant, and I still don’t know whether he was just making an off-hand comment, or whether he was making a deliberate tactic to motivate me. Either way, it worked, and I have not looked back. Amazing what a good kick up the arse can do.
Dean Stott is the author of
Relentless: From SBS To World Record Holder.