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OUH nurse enters record books after wheely epic journey

26/03/2020
This article is more than two years old.

An Oxford University Hospitals (OUH) nurse has set a new world record, as one of a pair of cyclists who have become the fastest people to circumnavigate the world on a tandem, raising thousands of pounds for charity in the process.

Rachael Marsden and her fellow traveller Cat Dixon cycled 18,263.58 miles, or 29,392 km in 263 days, seven hours and seven minutes. Their record now needs to be verified by the Guinness Book of World Records.

The intrepid pair, who set out from Oxford’s Cowley Road on 29 June last year, have raised almost £37,000 for two charities: the Motor Neurone Disease (MND) Association and Oxfam. In so doing, they smashed their original target of £18,000.

They managed to get the last ferry out of the Normandy port of Caen, before passenger ferries were halted, and made it to Portsmouth, from where they completed the last leg of their odyssey.

Rachael is a Nurse Consultant for MND at the John Radcliffe Hospital. I 

Speaking after arriving back in Oxford on 18 March, she said: “We have had the most amazing time. Literally, each day was an adventure. There was never a day that we didn’t want to ride our bike and explore the world. 

“We were so incredibly lucky to have the support from all our followers. Sadly, we have returned to a different world to the one we left, one with very different priorities. It’s going to take a bit of time to adjust.”

The pair have been posting the latest news of their exploits on a daily blog at www.tandemwow.com, as well as on social media – search for Tandem WoW on Facebook and Twitter. Donations can still be made via their website or their Virgin Giving page.

The Guinness Book of World Records had set Rachael and Cat the target of finishing their round-the-world trip within 320 days to set the first women’s record for a tandem circumnavigation. But their effort has almost certainly broken the men’s record, which stands at 281 days, 22 hours, and 20 minutes.

On their journey, they travelled through Europe and Asia to Australia, at the height of the bushfires. They then crossed to New Zealand, before travelling coast to coast in the United States and then flying to Morocco, from where they crossed back into Europe via Gibraltar.

They managed to get through Spain just before it imposed a ban on cycling because of coronavirus.