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Guinness World Record for Oxfordshire Local

An Oxford University Hospitals nurse has entered the Guinness Book of World Records after she and her cycling partner set the fastest time for a circumnavigation of the world on a tandem.

Rachael Marsden, a Nurse Consultant for Motor Neurone Disease at the John Radcliffe Hospital, and Cat Dixon covered 18,263 miles and 25 countries on a journey that took them 263 days, 8 hours, 7 minutes, as they smashed the existing record of 281 days.

They travelled through  France, Monaco, Italy, Slovenia, Croatia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro, Albania, Macedonia, Greece, Turkey, Georgia, India, Myanmar, Thailand, Malaysia, Singapore, Australia, New Zealand, USA, Mexico, Morocco, Spain, Gibraltar and back through France to the UK.

The pair set out from Oxford on 29 June 2019 and arrived back on 18 March 2020 and were faced with many challenges along the way.

Weather and environmental conditions such as a heatwave across Europe, extended monsoons across Asia and bush fires and temperatures of 50 degrees Celsius in Australia made the journey a difficult one, but the pair admit that the challenges COVID-19 added were completely unexpected.

Whilst the outbreak occurred towards the end of their journey, border closures and travel restrictions due to Covid-19 risked requiring them to cut their trip short.  With a little luck, the pair said they actually managed to board the penultimate passenger ferry back from the French post of Caen on the day that the travel ban started.

As well as achieving the title of Guinness World Record holders, the pair also raised more than £40,000 for the Motor Neurone Disease Association and Oxfam.

They said:

“We are incredibly proud to be Guinness World Records title holders and excited to help celebrate the launch of Guinness World Records Day this year. The experience was incredible and certainly not without its challenges – most notably racing to make it home as borders closed behind us due to the Coronavirus pandemic. Setting the world record really was the adventure of a lifetime and we hope that it will inspire others to believe that anything is possible if you follow your dreams.”

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