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The last year has seen two World Records amongst our incredible fundraisers. Anke Brandt and Paul Oughton set themselves a fantastic challenge, and both broke World Records, raising awareness and funds for spinal cord injury research.

Anke Brandt

Anke decided to put her love for watersports together with her support for Wings for Life and organised her own kitesurfing challenge in Bahrain. The existing World Record for the longest kite surfing journey by a female was 213KM, but Anke wanted to take it further and hit 250KM. She said it was the perfect opportunity to fundraise for Wings for Life,

 “I wanted to support Wings for life as they work towards a very important goal of making spinal cord injury curable and facilitate the development of technologies designed to reduce the risk of injury.”

Starting at the Amwaj Islands in the northeast of Bahrain, together with her crew and support boat, Anke set off along the west coast under the Saudi Causeway. The weather and conditions were great, and everything was going smoothly until her kite touched the underside of a bridge. Anke and the team worried that it might have punctured, but luckily it was intact.

Travelling at an average of 30km/h over waves and through reefs, a sudden pick up in wind meant that the team had to help change Anke's kite from a large 15m kite to a small 9m one.

Along the east coast Anke had to deal with strong currents and coral reefs, and got caught in debris and sea grass as the glare of the sun made them difficult to see. However her crew encouraged her on, "My team was amazing. They constantly provided me with food by sending it to me on a giant inflatable, which gave me the energy I needed."

As Anke travelled east, her GPS tracker batteries ran low, meaning she couldn’t tell how far she had gone. Frustrated but seeing the sun lowering, she knew time was running out. Legs painful and her watch out of battery, she pushed on. Just before sunset her team realised she had kited 246km and so had not only broken the World Record but had just 4km to go to achieve her goal! “My legs were tired, but I went as fast as I could. I had to make sure that I passed the 250km target!”

As the day came to a close, Anke achieved her goal of kite surfing continuously for an incredible 250km.

“The team went wild cheering and clapping. I was exhausted but so happy. We went to see our fantastic supporters at Al Dar Island and then had a brilliant welcome BBQ. I am touched by the support from everyone and from Wings for Life. You can prepare yourself to go the distance but it is the team and the involvement of others that make you realise you can go further.”

So, after nearly 12 hours of kitesurfing Anke had covered 250.32km, secured the new World Endurance record for a female Kite surfer and raised over £2,000 for Wings for Life!

Paul Oughton

Motocross rider Paul Oughton came to us with the wish to break the World Record for the, “Greatest distance on a Motocross bike in 24 Hours” for Wings for Life.

Paul’s former club and the MCF affiliated Ringwood MXC helped him with some of the lapscoring and marshalling of the event, and he had huge support from his family and friends. The local media took a great interest in Paul’s challenge too, and he and his endeavor became well known, crucially raising awareness of spinal cord injury and Wings for Life.

Paul trained hard for months and then last September, headed for the Rogershill Raceway in Dorset.

Paul was joined by a dedicated group of riders, including motocross legend and three times World Champion David Thorpe and 4 Times British Motocross Champion Stephen Sword. His 13 year old nephew Callum Gordon also supported Paul by taking part.

The pace started strong with 11 laps an hour before slowing down to 10 from hour 4 onwards to 8 during the night. Paul and the team chose shorter ride sessions of 50-55 minutes before each break to help keep him hydrated, fresh and focused.

Paul pushed through mental and physical tiredness and achieved the World Record in just over 14 hours, smashing the current record by over 130km! Paul told us how his achievement made him feel;

 “It's one thing breaking the record, but to have it made official by Guinness is something else. It is a very proud moment for me, my family and all of those that helped, supported and sponsored me. The amount of people that turned out to support me on the day was humbling, and it will stay with me for a very long time”.

Paul raised just under £400 and in terms of Wings for Life, Paul said that,

"Working with the team at Wings for Life was fantastic. They supported me all of the way and invited me to the London HQ to present me with an award for my efforts which was amazing. I met some truly inspirational people too while I was there and I am very proud to have promoted, raised awareness and money for Wings for Life".

We would like to thank Anke and Paul for their fantastic efforts both with fundraising and raising awareness of spinal cord injury and Wings for Life, and congratulate them on their wonderful achievements of setting new World Records.