When Dean Stott, a friend of Prince Harry, embarked on a challenge to cycle the length of South and North America, he set himself 110 days to do it.
That was, until he received a certain royal wedding invitation in the post.
Instead, Stott this weekend crossed the finish line of his gruelling 13,670 mile trek in Alaska, breaking the world record by 18 days and allowing him to get home to watch Prince Harry get married.
The amateur cyclist travelled the Pan American Highway from Argentina to Alaska under his own steam in 99 Days, 12 hours and 56 minutes, far surpassing his own planned record thanks to a combination of fortunate weather conditions, increased fitness and some Royal inspiration.
Speaking as he celebrated last night, Stott, who is raising money for mental health campaign Heads Together, said the wedding invitation had arrived at home midway through his journey, with his wife passing on news of the May 19th date.
New record: Congratulations to remarkable adventurer @Dean_deanstott who's just achieved a new record for Fastest time to cycle the Pan-American Highway: 99 days, 12 hours and 56 minutes, raising funds for @heads_together— GuinnessWorldRecords (@GWR) May 12, 2018
This was the finish line at Prudhoe Bay, Alaska ��♂️�� pic.twitter.com/mJhFm5w4EL
“That was my new motivation,” he said, of making the journey so quickly. “I surprised myself really. It’s a bit surreal still.”
Stott, a former UK special forces soldier who was partnered with Prince Harry for training, sent his friend regular updates of his journey, and aims to raise £1m for mental health charities.
Asked what would have happened if he had not made it back in time to attend the Royal wedding with his wife Alana, he joked: “I’d be divorced”.
Speaking at the finish line, Stott said: ‘This journey was one of the hardest things I have ever done.
"After over two years of training I’m delighted to have not only finished but broken the Guinness World Record.
“There were definitely moments where I thought I couldn’t finish but the support has helped me make it to the finish line.
“Thanks to people like Prince Harry and the Heads Together charity partners, mental health is being spoken about much more and I hope by doing this, I have been able to inspire even more people to speak out and get the help they need.
“For now, I’m off to put my feet up and spend some time with my wife and two children who I’ve missed incredibly.”
Stott’s journey began on February 1 at the southern tip of South America in Ushuaia, Argentina, where he followed the Pan-American Highway to its finishing point in Prudhoe Bay, Alaska.
He has so far raised £485,104.
He also hopes to encourage others to take up exercise to help their mental health.
“Physical activity helps so much,” he said. “I’m not saying go and cycle two continents, but maybe go out for a walk.”