'Unbreakable' Land's End - John o'Groats record beaten for first time in 17 years

Michael Broadwith knocks nearly 40 minutes off previous record

Michael Broadwith
(Image credit: Chris Catchpole)

Michael Broadwith has become the first rider to set a new Land's End - John o'Groats record in 17 years as he knocked nearly 40 minutes off the previous mark.

Broadwith completed his ride of the length of Great Britain in a time of 43 hours, 25 minutes and 13 seconds, going 39 minutes and seven seconds off the previous record of Gethin Butler from 2001, which some had seen as unbeatable, covering the 841 miles at an average speed of 19.4mph/31.2kmh.

A new record has only been set 11 times since the Land's End - John o'Groats record was established in 1886, with Broadwith entering his name into the record books shortly after 3am on Sunday morning having set off from Land's End at 8am on Friday morning.

40-year-old Broadwith enjoyed a good start through the West Country as he covered the first 230 miles to Gloucester 42 minutes ahead of a schedule that was aimed at breaking the record by just over half an hour.

The smooth progress continued up through the rest of England, with Broadwith maintaining that lead and even finding road-side support from Butler - the man whose record he was trying to beat.

>>> Land’s End to John o’ Groats: How to break an unbreakable cycling record

However bad weather started to hit as Broadwith travelled further north, cresting Shap Fell in Cumbria with the rain starting to fall, and the weather only getting worse as he continued into Scotland and passed the 24 hour point.

As a bonus, and pending verification by the Road Record Association, Broadwith also picked up the 24-hour record with distance of more than 507 miles.

However the cold, distance, and the strain of holding an aerodynamic position for hours on end saw Broadwith require frequent stops for massages on his next as he travelled through the Highlands, eliminating much of the advantage that he had built up earlier in the ride.

Covering much of the northern section of the ride holding his head up with his hands and resting his elbows on his aero bars, Broadwith finally reached John o'Groats on the far north-east of Scotland bang on schedule, to put his name into the record books.

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