***Date change: event now starts 29th October 2021***
Leeds local and reality TV star, James Priestley, is attempting to break the world record for longest distance rowed on an indoor rower in 24 hours, raising money and awareness for local mental health charity, Leeds Mind.
The current record was set at 307,683 meters (191.18 miles) set almost two decades ago in November 2001.
Known as one of the toughest competitions on TV, James won series five of SAS Who Dares Wins in 2020 over 24 other civilians, after a series of gruelling challenges that recreated the British Army Special Forces’ secret selection process. The show is described as “the ultimate test of physical and psychological resilience”.
Hailing from Bradford, Priestley is Director of local estate agency Valor Properties, with offices in Leeds, Bradford and Shipley. Not one to live a quiet life though, he knew he wanted another challenge following his TV victory.
Priestley commented: “After winning SAS Who Dares Wins, I walked onto the gym floor and asked myself ‘which piece of equipment do I hate the most in this place?’ The answer was easy: the rowing machine. So, I challenged myself to set a new world record on it.”
Taking place over 24 hours from 6:30pm 29th October 2021 through to 6:30pm on the 30th, Priestley will attempt to smash the world record on a rower set up on Briggate in the centre of Leeds, where there will be an additional machine set up alongside Priestley’s so that you can grab a photo with the reality TV star…or try to match his pace!
There will also be an outdoor cinema to keep the gathered spectators entertained, and there will be a few familiar faces in attendance to cheer James on.
When asked why he wants to support Leeds Mind, Priestley said: “I am so lucky to not suffer from anxiety. My world would be turned upside down if I had to carry that burden on my back everyday. Therefore, I want to make people aware how impossible it can be for someone suffering from mental health to make it through the day. In addition, how we shouldn’t take for granted how lucky we are not to suffer from mental illness.”
“Throughout my life, as well as my time on the show, I’ve known that mental health is as important as physical health, so I wanted to raise money and awareness for Leeds’ local mental health charity, Leeds Mind, so that others in the local community can access the support they might need.”
Gemma Green, fundraising officer for Leeds Mind, added: “This is set to be a fantastic event that James is setting up to raise money and awareness for mental health in our local community, and we are so grateful to him for his support. It’s fantastic to see James’ dedication to his training and we hope to see as many people at the event as possible in October!”
To sponsor James, please visit: https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/james-priestley7