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OUH nurse claims Guinness World Record after tandem circumnavigation


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.

The record was announced at the launch of Guinness World Records Day 2020.

Rachael, 55, and Cat, 54, set out from Oxford on 29 June 2019, and arrived back on the 18 March 2020. The pair were faced with the additional challenge of making it home before borders closed and countries went into lockdown as the COVID-19 pandemic worsened - managing to board the penultimate passenger ferry back from the French post of Caen on the day that the travel ban started.

The pair cycled on average between 80 and 100 miles each day, occasionally completing as much as 120 miles in one day on the tandem bike they named 'Alice'. They were faced with challenging weather and environmental conditions throughout their trip: a heatwave across Europe; extended monsoons across Asia; and bush fires and temperatures of 50 degrees Celsius in Australia.

Not only did the pair achieve the Guinness World Records title, but 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."

The pair posted the latest news of their exploits on a daily blog at, as well as on social media. They are still accepting donations via their website or their Virgin Giving page.

Rachael and Cat 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.