I will be attempting to break the record for the “Longest Barefoot Journey.” The current record stands at 1,292.54 miles.
So, about 8 months ago, after returning from the worst experience of my life in Dubai, I decided the time was right for me and I wanted to do something amazing in memory of my late step-dad Simon, in aid of St Catherine’s Hospice.
To fully understand the reason, the route I’m taking and significance of the journey first we need to rewind back to 2015.
Simon had been diagnosed terminally ill with cancer and was later admitted to St Catherine’s Hospice in 2015 after taking a significant turn for the worse. I was living in Spain and working in Gibraltar at the time. That is one phone call I will never forget.
The race was on; I needed to get home in the shortest possible time. I booked a same day, direct flight from Gibraltar to Manchester… You didn’t think it would be that easy did you?
Of course not, due to the infamous winds circling Gibraltar all flights were cancelled, a lot later on in the day after numerous delays. A full day wasted.
Not to worry, surely there are many different ways to get back I thought to myself... No flights from Malaga for the next 3 days. Not ideal at all.
I needed to think outside of the box, how else could I get back?
At 2 a.m. I found a ferry leaving first thing in the morning, only an hour’s drive away and taking me to the south of England. Far from perfect but the best option available. Without hesitation I booked it. Only after payment was taken I was informed the ticket must be printed and they wouldn’t accept the E-Ticket that was sent to my email. My heart sank; I didn’t have a printer due to the number of internet cafes in the area, it had never seemed worthwhile. None of these opened before departure.
Damn, surely it was just a warning on the website I thought, to make it easier for them. Once they hear my struggle and see the time I purchased the ticket they will understand. It’s not like I haven’t paid for a ticket…
They didn’t, I was refused boarding and watched the ferry sail away in to the distance. I sat and cried for a while, letting it all out, I needed to get my head straight.
Returning to Gibraltar I knew I needed to find a plan Z and fast. I looked at every possible mode of transport, with planes still not taking off from Gibraltar and another 2 days until any departures from Malaga.
This is how I returned home, the fastest route available at the time believe it or not!
- 3 hour bus from La Linea to Malaga
- 2.5 hour train from Malaga to Madrid, Spain
- 1.5 hour flight from Madrid to Brussels, Belgium
- 1 hour flight from Brussels to Manchester, England.
Exhausted, emotionally drained and fatigued I arrived in Manchester, but crucially I had arrived in time! I got the train directly to Preston and was reunited with my family at St Catherine’s Hospice. I was so grateful to have had the precious time I was given.
The staff at St Catherine’s Hospice astonished me, the genuine love, care and attention they provide is astonishing. Simon commented himself, how amazed he was with the staff and the facilities. Remarkably they even had us laughing at a time were laughing seemed so hard.
I will be forever grateful to St Catherine’s Hospice and I intend to fundraise on their behalf throughout my life, having already completed a sponsored Skydive!
Surprisingly, my application for the “The Longest Barefoot Journey” was accepted the day before the anniversary of Simon’s passing. It felt like Simon was giving us some good news and positivity with the timing. It also felt to me personally that he was giving me his approval and wishing me the best for the upcoming challenge. They sent me a massive “Book of Guidelines” that I need to follow, but in short, there are 7 rules I need to follow in order for my record to be accepted. They are:
- I must be completely barefoot for the entirety – Prohibiting the use of plasters, bandages and walking aids.
- I must have the start and finish attended by two independent witnesses, both completing full witness statements.
- To carry a witness log book and have further independent witnesses complete witness statements daily.
- I must carry a log book and update everything, encounters, witnesses, distances travelled.
- I must track the entire journey using a professional GPS tracking device, showing timestamps, distance travelled and speed of movement.
- I must film the entire journey, every single step.
- I must take a photo of the exact moment when I beak the current World Record.
I did my due diligence – hours and hours of research – So I could find a route linked to my experience that breaks the world record. This is the route I’ve had accepted by the Guinness World Records:
- Madrid, Spain
- Paris, France
- Brussels, Belgium
- Calais, France
- Dover, England
- St Catherine’s Hospice, Lostock Hall, England.
With only 8 months to go until the first step, I’m now deep into my training and pretty much live barefoot now.
I set myself 10 Barefoot Challenges to complete in the 10 months leading up to my Guinness World Record Attempt to help raise awareness, additional funds and give me training that I will need if I am to be successful.
All my challenges, training and the attempt itself will be uploaded to all my social media channels. Just search @MrMatthewStrange on YouTube, Facebook and Instagram or @MrMStrange on Twitter to stay up to date.
I have already climbed England’s Tallest Mountain, (Scafell Pike) barefoot and had a St Catherine’s Hospice tattoo across my feet!
This is just the beginning; together we can do something special.
5 Countries | 4 charity | 3 months | 2 bare feet | 1 Guinness World Record.
A graduate from the University of Life, and owner of MrMatthewStrange.com, Matthew Strange has encountered situations that most people wouldn’t even dream of, not even in their nightmares.
Whether removing leaches from his genitals in a rainforest in Thailand, or being held (wrongly!) captive by the working girls of Amsterdam, Matthew Strange always seems to end up in unusual situations.
Follow his journey here:
YouTube, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter.