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Alex Flynn

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Alexander “Alex” Flynn LLB (Hons), LLM (Born 14 January 1972 in Wallingford, UK) is an English Adventurer, athlete, writer, motivational speaker producer and lawyer, best known for his 10 Million Metres Challenge.

Early life and education[edit | edit source]

Flynn attended Wallingford School, Wallingford, Oxfordshire and Henley College, Henley-on-Thames. After several years singing for various bands and musical projects, Flynn argued his way into law school. He attended Westminster University and secured his undergraduate degree notwithstanding being attacked and, as a consequence, having no short term memory for his second year final exams.

In 1998, Flynn had his first taste of adventure, when he and a friend rode motorcycles over 7,000 miles around the United States of America.

After returning to the UK, he attended Bristol University obtaining an LLM in commercial law. Flynn is a member of Middle Temple and was called to the bar in 2003. He cross-qualified as a solicitor in 2007.

In 2005 when competing in the Hairy Legs Duathlon, Flynn crashed coming downhill at speed during the bike ride. Flynn suffered extensive injuries including a separated shoulder, broken rib cage and puncturing both his lungs. He was airlifted to the John Radcliffe Hospital, Oxford. It took Flynn five months to recover.

Parkinson’s disease[edit | edit source]

Flynn was diagnosed with idiopathic Parkinson’s disease on 12 June 2008. He was 36 years old.

10 Million Metres Challenge[edit | edit source]

Notwithstanding the diagnosis of Parkinson’s disease, Flynn set out to raise awareness of and funds for Parkinson’s disease, particularly the Cure Parkinson’s Trust, by undertaking a number of challenges that Sir Ranulph Fiennes OBE described as ‘“… seriously hard by anyone’s standards”’. The target was 10,000 km (6,214 Miles) to be completed without motor and with one major caveat to the challenge, which was that only the distance in races and events would count towards the 10 million metres.

Highlights of the 10 million Metres Challenge include:

2010[edit | edit source]

Marathon des Sables - Flynn became the first person with Parkinson’s to complete the 150 mile race across the Sahara Desert in temperatures up to 135°F. He finished 528 out of over 1100 competitors

Grand Union Canal 145 mile Race – less than four weeks after the Sahara, Flynn ran 119 miles until his hip flexors failed.

Europe 135 – in September 2010 Flynn and David Clamp took part in the inaugural race across the Bavarian Alps. The 135 mile course was badly flooded in places and both Flynn and Clamp covered a distance of almost 160 miles in 52 hours.

2011[edit | edit source]

In January, he completed the Standard Chartered Dubai Marathon and became a fully sponsored athlete thanks to the deVere Group

Trans-Europe Challenge – in June 2011, Flynn traversed 1,457 miles from London to Rome via Paris in 30 days. He completed the distance notwithstanding suffering a stress fracture of his right tibia on the third day.[1]

As a consequence of the Trans-Europe Challenge, Flynn was invited by the Vatican to meet the Pope. On August 8, 2011, he was blessed by Pope Benedict XVI at the Palazzo Apostolico di Castel Gandolfo.

In September 2011, Flynn took part in the inaugural Challenge Henley Ironman distance triathlon. Despite having a fear of water, he successfully completed a challenging and cold swim in the river Thames followed by a gruelling 118 mile bike ride. The final marathon proved difficult due to the stress fracture on his right tibia incurred during the Trans-Europe Challenge. As a consequence of this Flynn had to walk the marathon distance. However, inclement weather (cold wind and rain) and the slowness of his pace caused him to suffer hypothermia and have to withdraw from race only 10 km from the finish.

11 days after the Challenge Henley triathlon, Flynn travelled to South Africa and undertook a journey from Durban to Cape Town. On route Flynn participated in the Otter Trail Race, one of the most difficult and technically challenging races on the planet. At just over half way, Flynn rolled his ankle, fracturing his Talus, ripping tendons and badly bruising his Tibia and Fibula. Irrespective of pain, Flynn continued to run on his broken ankle for a further 2km before having to withdraw from race.

2012[edit | edit source]

Flynn took on his Trans-America Challenge (TAC) and became the first person to cross 3,256 miles of America in 35 days using four different disciplines. Starting from Santa Monica Pier, Santa Monica, California, he rode by bicycle to Mount Whitney. Then climbed Mount Whitney by the mountaineers’ route and ran down the trail and across 135 miles of Death Valley before riding across America and kayaking Lake Erie. Deterioration in the weather forced him to abandon the kayak and, instead, ride to New York and run down Broadway to finish. The Trans-America Challenge was filmed by BBC One and was aired on The One Show on both the 16 and 17 October 2012 .[2] [3]

One month after finishing the TAC, Flynn completed the Athens Classic Marathon, Athens, Greece. [4] Two weeks later, he competed in the Shanghai Marathon in China.

2013[edit | edit source]

Flynn, within the space of eight weeks, traversed over 200 km of the Amazon jungle (Beyond the Ultimate, Jungle ultra, Manu National Park, Peru, South America) in six days, raced 90km over the Italian Dolomites (Lavaredo Ultra Trail[5]) and 240km of the Colorado Rockies (Beyond the ultimate Mountain ultra).

While preparing to finish the 10MillionMtres Challenge, Flynn discovered a shortfall in his calculations which saw Flynn complete 359 km on a spin bike in under two days, despite having a knee injury.

2014[edit | edit source]

Completed the 10 Million Metres Challenge[6] [7]at the Standard Chartered Dubai Marathon, Dubai, UAE.

Later that year he ran across the Swiss / French Alps[8]

Further Challenges[edit | edit source]

2016[edit | edit source]

2016 brought a new challenge of completing 5,566 press-ups in 22 days to raise funds and awareness of PTSD, which affects military personnel and first responders. Flynn managed to continue for 18 days reaching total of 3,762 press-ups before his shoulder gave out.

2017[edit | edit source]

In February 2017, Flynn returned from the Arctic after attempting a 450 km expedition of Sweden’s Kungsleden (Kings trail) in freezing temperatures of -29°C. His participation was cut short due to Flynn ripping a tendon in his right ankle. Undeterred, he continued to pull a 135lb pulk and 10kg backpack across a further 25km, including two mountain passes before the onset of hypothermia caused Flynn to call it a day.

2018[edit | edit source]

So far in 2018, Flynn has undertaken the brutal and extremely challenging Lost Islands Ultra in Fiji and two weeks after finishing the Fiji ultra, Flynn completed the Virgin Money London Marathon.

Media[edit | edit source]

Flynn has raised awareness of young onset Parkinson’s disease to more than 120 million households worldwide. In 2015, Flynn took part in the Men’s Health USA, Ultimate Guy Competition; reaching the semi-final; the last 9 out of almost 1,000 competitors (including special forces, Marines, etc)[9]

Film[edit | edit source]

He has recently co-produced and obtained funding for a TV documentary, Living with Parkinson’s, in conjunction with MoreThanMediaTV and Devonshire Productions.[10] Filming took place in New York, San Francisco, London, UK and Europe.

Writing[edit | edit source]

Flynn has contributed to various magazines including, Men’s Health USA, Running Fitness, Men’s Fitness UK, and GoTrail.

He has recently finished writing his first Book, 10 Million Metres. The book focuses on his life, being diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease, and his subsequent adventures around the planet.

Charity[edit | edit source]

To date Flynn has raised both directly and indirectly in excess of $530,000 towards Parkinson’s research (Cure Parkinson’s Trust, Parkinson’s UK, Michael J Fox foundation, Parkinson’s Institute).

He co-founded the UK Charity, SpotlightYOPD[11] (Registered charity number: 1165177) due to the fact that there was nothing available whether by support or resource for people diagnosed with Young Onset Parkinson’s disease. He has since left the charity.

Awards[edit | edit source]

In 2014 the Cure Parkinson’s Trust created an award and named it after Flynn, who became the first recipient of the Alex Flynn Award.

In June 2016, Flynn was honoured and recognized by David Cameron, the then Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, who awarded Flynn a Point of Light Award.

Personal life[edit | edit source]

Flynn has two sons, Maxim (born 1999) and Louis (born 2001), from a previous relationship. In 2006, Flynn married Aurélie Archambeaud, from France, whom he met while working in Bordeaux, France. They separated in 2017. They have a son, Zacharie, who was born in 2011.

References[edit | edit source]

  1. Alex Flynn - BBC Oxford Interview 6th January 2012
  2. The One Show, 2012 Vimeo
  3. the express [1]
  4. Athens Classic Marathon [2]
  5. Lavaredo Ultra Trail [3]
  6. 10millionmetres the finish [4]
  7. Mirror [5]
  8. OMM France [6]
  9. Men's Health, 2015 Link
  10. IMDB [7]
  11. SpotlightYOPD [8]


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