The most gruelling trans-world expedition came to an end today as 30-year old British adventurer, Sarah Outen MBE kayaks under Tower Bridge, completing her four and a half year London2London: Via the World challenge.
Sarah was joined on the Thames for the final stretch of her expedition by fellow kayakers and RNLI London lifeboats, cheered on by family, friends and supporters lining the river and Tower Bridge.
Since setting off in April 2011, Sarah has cycled,kayaked and rowed 25,000 miles. She has survived a perilous mid-ocean rescue after being hit by a Tropical Storm on the Pacific, has cycled in temperatures ranging from 40 degrees in the Gobi Desert to -40 degrees during the North American winter and had a near death experience when she was sucked under the bows of a container ship in her rowing boat. But none of these deterred her from finishing this epic journey.
Sarah Outen said: “This expedition has pushed and challenged me to my limits and beyond. There have been quite a few moments when I wasn’t sure if I would make it out alive. But I was determined to see this through to the end and to now be back home is really special. I have been humbled and inspired by the places I’ve been and the people I’ve met, which has made for an amazing few years.”
Sarah has garnered widespread support and praise for her expedition from the elite of the adventuring world.
Legendary explorer, Sir Ranulph Fiennes OBE said: “I am very impressed by Sarah’s incredible fortitude and endurance against great odds. This has been a seriously tough expedition but she has done it. My thoughts and admiration are with her as she now completes her brilliant and highly successful London2London journey.”
During her expedition Sarah became the first person to row from Japan to Alaska, spending 150 days at sea alone. Midway across the Pacific she also asked her girlfriend Lucy to marry her – who else can say they popped the question from a rowing boat in the middle of an ocean?
The expedition was in aid of supporting four charities close to Sarah’s heart, CoppaFeel!, the MND Association, WaterAid and the Jubilee Sailing Trust and inspiring children to get the most out of life. En route, Sarah has spoken at hundreds of schools around the world.
Sarah Outen said: “For me this expedition has always been about the adventure, the challenge and importantly about the learning. But I also wanted to share this experience with others, to show people, especially young people, that you can do whatever you put your mind to. This is a belief inspired by my late father and is one I carry with me always.”
She added: “So many people, strangers and friends alike have also helped me along the way. And so while I spent much of the time out there on my own, this has by no means been a solo expedition. I could not have done it without them.”
Sarah’s journey started in April 2011 when she kayaked from London to France. From there she jumped on her bike and cycled a punishing 11,000 miles across Europe, Russia and Asia before kayaking to Japan. In 2012 she made her first attempt to row solo across the Pacific but this was cut short when she was hit by a Tropical Storm and had to be rescued. But she went back a year later and rowed solo from Japan to Alaska.
She then kayaked one of the toughest routes in the world with kayaking partner, Justine Curgenven – the 1500 miles through the Aleutian Islands, off the coast of Alaska and are believed to be the first people to do this. Sarah then cycled across North America through one of the toughest winters on record to Cape Cod. From here she set off to row solo across the Atlantic to the UK but was forced to call for a pick up due to Hurricane Joaquin – she lost her boat Happy Socks during the evacuation. She then finished the expedition as planned by cycling and kayaking from Falmouth back up to London.
Sarah’s second book, ‘Dare to Do‘ is due out in Summer 2016 and will tell the whole story of her London2London adventure and inner journey.
Sarah’s title sponsor was Accenture. Mars, Iridium and EY were also major sponsors.