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FITNESS, HEALTH, WELLNESS

features

People profiles: Sean Conway

Adventurer

Published in Health Club Management 2015 issue 9
Sean Conway, adventurer
Sean Conway, adventurer
If you’re thinking you can’t run a 5k race, sign up for a 10k. Once the bar is set up there, you take it more seriously

I’m just the guy from the pub. If I can do it, anyone can,” says Sean Conway, the first person to have cycled, swum and run the length of Great Britain.

An unlikely endurance athlete in many ways, Conway isn’t ex-military or a former athlete. He had never run a marathon and had no experience of sea swimming prior to starting his challenges. Now 34 years old, he admits to spending most of his 20s being inactive and has a penchant for whisky and ale. He says what makes him able to complete his adventures is his talent for being cold, wet, hungry and miserable.

“I was new to each discipline when I started the Great Britain challenge, but with each one I wasn’t breaking any records, so I knew I could afford to get fit on the adventure itself,” says Conway. “However, saying that, I have learnt that adventures are far more enjoyable when you’re really fit!”

Curing life’s niggles
Previously a school photographer, in 2011 Conway decided he’d had enough of chasing the money. Having already cycled across the UK in 2008 – he thought it would be a cheap holiday and an efficient way to see the country – in 2011 he sold his share of the business to his partner for £1 and became a full-time adventurer, financing his simplified lifestyle with talks and writing books about his experiences.

He completed the swim in 2013 and the seven-week run (which took two attempts) on 4 May this year. The run is the subject of a Discovery channel documentary that aired on 25 June.

Conway believes the route to contentment is not through accumulating “stuff” but through undertaking challenges that are testing both mentally and physically. “We’re all a lot more physically and mentally capable than we think we are,” he says. “Exercise cures most of life’s minor little niggles. It really puts your life into perspective.

“If you’re running a marathon and hit mile 23, the colour you painted your living room, which wasn’t quite right, doesn’t matter any more. Being outdoors and having a mental and physical challenge can solve many of life’s problems.

“I do appreciate we live in a country where it’s not always easy being outdoors, but no great adventure started on a fine, sunny day. There’s no such thing as bad weather – just the wrong clothes.”

An adventurous mindset
Even though he did it, Conway claims you don’t have to give up the day job in order to find adventure – he suggests looking for the adventure in everyday life. For example, instead of taking the train from Cheltenham to London for a New Year’s Eve party, he decided to walk. And rather than fly to Geneva and get a bus to the Alps, he cycled, sleeping under a bivi along the way.

“Adventure in its purest form is just a way of thinking,” he says. “My mate Al Humphries always says, you might have to work nine to five, but you’ve still got the five to nine. There are so many things you can do to challenge yourself on a weekend, or long weekend, to live life more adventurously without sacrificing the people who rely on you.”

He also believes everyone is far more capable of completing a challenge than they think they are: “If you have an idea, make it harder and you’ll be surprised at how easy it is to get there. If you’re thinking you can’t run a 5k race, sign up for a 10k. Once the bar is set up there, you take it more seriously.”

Conway plans to start his next adventure in September, which is set to involve swimming, cycling and running in an ultimate endurance challenge. However, he also likes the idea of organising his own epic Iron Man for others to take part in: “That would fit with my idea of adding experiences to my life. It would be long – the sort of race where you’d need to train for six months solid. I like to be at the far extreme of what’s possible. But if I can do what I’ve done, then anyone can do it. Because I’m not anything special.”

Unlock the inner adventurer

How can you unleash your members’ adventurous spirits? Sean Conway offers his tips for gym operators:

• Find out about and inform members of local challenges, mass participation and charity events – and help people to get fit for those events

• Build links with local groups who run adventurous activities like outdoor climbing, wild camping, kayaking and suchlike, and encourage members to give it a go

• Run technique classes for swimming, cycling and running. Triathlon participation
is growing, but what holds many people back is a lack of confidence in their ability in one of the disciplines

• Run more classes outdoors: it’s invigorating, whatever the weather

• Involve children in some activities, especially outdoor ones – they are the members and adventurers of the future

• Book a real-life adventurer to visit the club and give an inspirational talk

Conway says he spent most of his 20s being inactive before he found adventure
Conway says he spent most of his 20s being inactive before he found adventure
Sign up here to get HCM's weekly ezine and every issue of HCM magazine free on digital.
Conway’s lifestyle is funded by his talks and books on his exploits
Conway’s lifestyle is funded by his talks and books on his exploits
Everyone can discover adventure, says Conway
Everyone can discover adventure, says Conway
The Conway files
The Conway files
https://www.leisureopportunities.co.uk/images/495700_81955.jpg
Sean Conway – the first person to have cycled, swum and run the length of Great Britain – reckons he's "just the guy from the pub"
Sean Conway, adventure,Sean Conway, adventure, endurance athlete
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features

People profiles: Sean Conway

Adventurer

Published in Health Club Management 2015 issue 9
Sean Conway, adventurer
Sean Conway, adventurer
If you’re thinking you can’t run a 5k race, sign up for a 10k. Once the bar is set up there, you take it more seriously

I’m just the guy from the pub. If I can do it, anyone can,” says Sean Conway, the first person to have cycled, swum and run the length of Great Britain.

An unlikely endurance athlete in many ways, Conway isn’t ex-military or a former athlete. He had never run a marathon and had no experience of sea swimming prior to starting his challenges. Now 34 years old, he admits to spending most of his 20s being inactive and has a penchant for whisky and ale. He says what makes him able to complete his adventures is his talent for being cold, wet, hungry and miserable.

“I was new to each discipline when I started the Great Britain challenge, but with each one I wasn’t breaking any records, so I knew I could afford to get fit on the adventure itself,” says Conway. “However, saying that, I have learnt that adventures are far more enjoyable when you’re really fit!”

Curing life’s niggles
Previously a school photographer, in 2011 Conway decided he’d had enough of chasing the money. Having already cycled across the UK in 2008 – he thought it would be a cheap holiday and an efficient way to see the country – in 2011 he sold his share of the business to his partner for £1 and became a full-time adventurer, financing his simplified lifestyle with talks and writing books about his experiences.

He completed the swim in 2013 and the seven-week run (which took two attempts) on 4 May this year. The run is the subject of a Discovery channel documentary that aired on 25 June.

Conway believes the route to contentment is not through accumulating “stuff” but through undertaking challenges that are testing both mentally and physically. “We’re all a lot more physically and mentally capable than we think we are,” he says. “Exercise cures most of life’s minor little niggles. It really puts your life into perspective.

“If you’re running a marathon and hit mile 23, the colour you painted your living room, which wasn’t quite right, doesn’t matter any more. Being outdoors and having a mental and physical challenge can solve many of life’s problems.

“I do appreciate we live in a country where it’s not always easy being outdoors, but no great adventure started on a fine, sunny day. There’s no such thing as bad weather – just the wrong clothes.”

An adventurous mindset
Even though he did it, Conway claims you don’t have to give up the day job in order to find adventure – he suggests looking for the adventure in everyday life. For example, instead of taking the train from Cheltenham to London for a New Year’s Eve party, he decided to walk. And rather than fly to Geneva and get a bus to the Alps, he cycled, sleeping under a bivi along the way.

“Adventure in its purest form is just a way of thinking,” he says. “My mate Al Humphries always says, you might have to work nine to five, but you’ve still got the five to nine. There are so many things you can do to challenge yourself on a weekend, or long weekend, to live life more adventurously without sacrificing the people who rely on you.”

He also believes everyone is far more capable of completing a challenge than they think they are: “If you have an idea, make it harder and you’ll be surprised at how easy it is to get there. If you’re thinking you can’t run a 5k race, sign up for a 10k. Once the bar is set up there, you take it more seriously.”

Conway plans to start his next adventure in September, which is set to involve swimming, cycling and running in an ultimate endurance challenge. However, he also likes the idea of organising his own epic Iron Man for others to take part in: “That would fit with my idea of adding experiences to my life. It would be long – the sort of race where you’d need to train for six months solid. I like to be at the far extreme of what’s possible. But if I can do what I’ve done, then anyone can do it. Because I’m not anything special.”

Unlock the inner adventurer

How can you unleash your members’ adventurous spirits? Sean Conway offers his tips for gym operators:

• Find out about and inform members of local challenges, mass participation and charity events – and help people to get fit for those events

• Build links with local groups who run adventurous activities like outdoor climbing, wild camping, kayaking and suchlike, and encourage members to give it a go

• Run technique classes for swimming, cycling and running. Triathlon participation
is growing, but what holds many people back is a lack of confidence in their ability in one of the disciplines

• Run more classes outdoors: it’s invigorating, whatever the weather

• Involve children in some activities, especially outdoor ones – they are the members and adventurers of the future

• Book a real-life adventurer to visit the club and give an inspirational talk

Conway says he spent most of his 20s being inactive before he found adventure
Conway says he spent most of his 20s being inactive before he found adventure
Sign up here to get HCM's weekly ezine and every issue of HCM magazine free on digital.
Conway’s lifestyle is funded by his talks and books on his exploits
Conway’s lifestyle is funded by his talks and books on his exploits
Everyone can discover adventure, says Conway
Everyone can discover adventure, says Conway
The Conway files
The Conway files
https://www.leisureopportunities.co.uk/images/495700_81955.jpg
Sean Conway – the first person to have cycled, swum and run the length of Great Britain – reckons he's "just the guy from the pub"
Sean Conway, adventure,Sean Conway, adventure, endurance athlete
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With the launch of its 49th John Reed, RSG Group is looking for more opportunities ...
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PureGym saw revenues rise by 15 per cent in 2023, with the company announcing plans ...
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Latest News
Charitable trust, Mytime Active, has removed all single-use plastic overshoes from its swimming pools and ...
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Community Leisure UK is helping the drive to Net Zero with the launch of a ...
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Operator Circadian Trust has launched a five-year growth drive designed to support health and wellbeing ...
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Featured supplier news
Featured supplier news: Sibec EMEA to blend fitness with luxury at Fairmont Monte Carlo
Experience the pinnacle of fitness and luxury at the premier industry event, Sibec EMEA, set against the breathtaking backdrop of the Fairmont Monte Carlo this Autumn.
Company profiles
Company profile: Perfect Gym Solutions S.A.
Perfect Gym is a global software provider specialising in fitness and recreation facility management solutions. ...
Company profiles
Company profile: Life Fitness
The Life Fitness family of brands offers an unrivalled product portfolio, providing customers with access ...
Supplier Showcase
Supplier showcase - Jon Williams
Catalogue Gallery
Click on a catalogue to view it online
Featured press releases
Zoom Media press release: Zoom Media launches ‘livegood' wellness channel to deliver in-club entertainment on consoles and screens
Zoom Media, a leading provider of digital media solutions for health clubs, has launched a proprietary wellness content channel called Livegood – a digital hub of health and wellness media.
Featured press releases
Power Plate UK press release: Power plate + red light therapy: life-changing ‘biostacking’
“We combine Power Plate and red light therapy in all our small group classes,” says Natt Summers, founder and owner of Accomplish Fitness in Hungerford, Berkshire.
Directory
Snowroom
TechnoAlpin SpA: Snowroom
Lockers
Crown Sports Lockers: Lockers
Salt therapy products
Himalayan Source: Salt therapy products
Flooring
Total Vibration Solutions / TVS Sports Surfaces: Flooring
Spa software
SpaBooker: Spa software
Cryotherapy
Art of Cryo: Cryotherapy
Property & Tenders
Loughton, IG10
Knight Frank
Property & Tenders
Grantham, Leicestershire
Belvoir Castle
Property & Tenders
Diary dates
22-24 Apr 2024
Galgorm Resort, York,
Diary dates
10-12 May 2024
China Import & Export Fair Complex, Guangzhou, China
Diary dates
23-24 May 2024
Large Hall of the Chamber of Commerce (Erbprinzenpalais), Wiesbaden, Germany
Diary dates
30 May - 02 Jun 2024
Rimini Exhibition Center, Rimini, Italy
Diary dates
08-08 Jun 2024
Worldwide, Various,
Diary dates
11-13 Jun 2024
Raffles City Convention Centre, Singapore, Singapore
Diary dates
12-13 Jun 2024
ExCeL London, London, United Kingdom
Diary dates
03-05 Sep 2024
IMPACT Exhibition Center, Bangkok, Thailand
Diary dates
19-19 Sep 2024
The Salil Hotel Riverside - Bangkok, Bangkok 10120, Thailand
Diary dates
01-04 Oct 2024
REVĪVŌ Wellness Resort Nusa Dua Bali, Kabupaten Badung, Indonesia
Diary dates
22-25 Oct 2024
Messe Stuttgart, Germany
Diary dates
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QEII Conference Centre, London, United Kingdom
Diary dates
04-07 Nov 2024
In person, St Andrews, United Kingdom
Diary dates
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