Holding five Guinness World Records and, as part of a team, the record for the "longest distance rowed in 24 hours in an ocean rowing boat" is an amazing achievement for anyone, so there was no better person to give an inspirational talk to a group of Borders College students than legendary ocean rower Leven Brown.
Leven recently visited the College to talk to students about his record breaking maritime adventures and how having the drive and enthusiasm can help anyone reach their goals.
Speaking about his earlier days, he described how the monotony of working in an office led him to make the life changing decision to go out and explore in a way that was to have a profound impact on the world of rowing.
His first achievement was the completion of the Caledonian Challenge ‘THE 54’, which saw him walk 54 miles in under 24 hours. Sustaining horrendous blisters to his feet, he fought through the pain barrier to complete the challenge, setting the bar for his ‘never say die’ attitude.
Leven was brought up in Galashiels but was introduced to the ocean at an early age where he discovered ocean rowing. After a career with Brewin Dolphin Securities that spanned 17 years, he did his first solo ocean row in 2005, sailing from mainland Spain to the West Indies, covering 4278 miles in 123 days, gaining his first world record for the first person to do so.
Many more adventures followed, with Leven racking up the world records, including skippering crews on Atlantic and Indian Ocean voyages while fighting fierce storms and being stalked by sharks along the way.
Talking to over 70 staff and students, he spoke about the importance of teamwork and never giving up on your goals, and how having the right attitude can help you achieve what you never thought possible.
The audience had the opportunity to speak with Leven at the end of the talk with a question and answer session. A number of students commented about how they felt inspired by the presentation.
Said to be one of the best ocean rowing skippers in the world, he now runs Leven Brown Adventure and Ocean Services, who provide consultancy and training for ocean adventurers, as well as boat building services and shipping deliveries.
Leven plans to begin his next exhibition in 2021, rowing the North-West Passage, something which has never been done before.