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AoS Ambassador ready for next ambitious challenge

Alliance of Sport Ambassador David Haze is about to embark on his next ambitious fundraising adventure – stand-up paddleboarding 208km along the River Thames! 

In June, David set four new world records in four days by stand-up paddleboarding across the longest lakes in Scotland, England, Northern Ireland and Wales. After completing that awesome feat, he made a pledge to attempt an even more difficult challenge. 

In September, he will honour that pledge by attempting to paddle along the non-tidal section of the River Thames from Lechlade to Teddington Lock. The current record is two days, 14 hours and eight minutes, including a break for sleep. David will attempt to do it without sleep in just 36 hours. 

David raised over £2000 for the Alliance of Sport with his #4Lakes4Days challenge and intends to break the £3000 mark with this latest escapade. 

He describes it as “totally bonkers” but says “there’s no reason it can’t be done”. He has been in touch with the previous record holder, Mark Horne, who has offered advice and suggested they try to set a tandem world record together in the future.

To put the task in context, the total combined distance of the UK’s four largest lakes that David paddled across in four days in June is just under 100km. To attempt over double that distance, while stood up, and without sleep or rest, is brave, to say the least. 

David Haze

“I’m paddling the non-tidal Thames because the Port of London authority are not happy with the prospect of me attempting the tidal part after I’ve been awake for 36 hours. The chances of death are quite high,” explained David. “There was a kayaker who attempted it and drowned – and he was sitting down! I’m standing up so that makes it much more complicated. 

I have stayed awake for 36 hours a few times but never while exercising!” he jokes. “It is quite daunting. When it gets closer that’s when it will get a bit more real. Thankfully I shall have a support team on the water with me.” 

David is now working with a stand-up paddleboarding coach Craig Sawyer who he met via Instagram. Together they have come up with a nutrition plan to help get him through those tough last few hours of the challenge. 

David’s training will focus more on aerobic exercises and mobility as the date grows nearer, having concentrated more on strength and conditioning initially. He is making the most of the light summer evenings to get on the water as much as possible. 

Recently, David’s role with Penal Reform Solutions was made full-time. The organisation inspired his passion for reform and rehabilitation through the power of sport during his second prison term in HMP Guys Marsh which ended in April 2020. 

Through Penal Reform Solutions, David works with young people in the Criminal Justice System, researching issue relating to their mental health. It is hoped the evidence base he’s helping to build will influence future mental health policy and practice across the full range of justice-related agencies including magistrates, the Crown Prosecution Service, probation and prison departments.  

To donate to David’s latest record attempt, with all proceeds going to the Alliance of Sport, go to his Just Giving page here.

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