Richard Parks: Ex-Leeds rugby star sets endurance feat record

Richard Parks.
Richard Parks.
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Former Leeds rugby player Richard Parks told of his pride today after trekking and climbing his way into the record books.

The 33-year-old has become the first person to stand on the world’s three poles and the highest peak on each of its seven continents in the same calendar year.

And, speaking after he completed his epic journey by conquering Russia’s 18,510ft Mount Elbrus, he said: “It hasn’t sunk in yet.

“Physically my body has just about held up, [although] I’m not sure I have another mountain in me for a couple of months!”

Reflecting on his final lung-bursting push to the top of Elbrus, he went on: “My energy levels went from a quarter of a tank to pretty much bone dry – the final hour of the summit climb I had to dig pretty deep.

“My legs were quite tired and mentally it was quite tough.”

Richard embarked on his record attempt last December with the aim of raising £1m for Marie Curie Cancer Care.

He saw in the start of 2011 at the South Pole and, by the middle of April, had also climbed the tallest mountains on four continents and battled to the North Pole.

Afterwards came successful assaults on Mount Everest – regarded as Earth’s third pole as it is the planet’s highest peak – then Mount Denali in North America and finally Elbrus.

The challenge took a total of six months, 11 days, seven hours and 53 minutes to complete.

Praise for Richard’s achievement was led today by Leeds Carnegie head coach Diccon Edwards.

He said: “We are all immensely proud of his efforts.

“During his time at Leeds, Richard was a well-liked figure and someone who always gave 100 per cent for the club.

“On behalf of all Leeds fans, I would like to congratulate him on his remarkable feat.”

Recently forced to retire due to injury, Richard was part of the Leeds rugby union team that won the Powergen Cup in 2005.

For details on how to support his fundraising, visit: www.737challenge.com

Julie Britton and daughter Connie Seabourne were among those attending the event.

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