• Posted on : October 28, 2013
  • Posted by : Tom Fletcher

For my generation, Record Breakers was TV gold. We would watch in wonder as world records were broken and Norris McWhirter demonstrated extraordinary knowledge of even the most obscure stats. At the end of every show, Roy Castle would sing the theme song – ‘If you want to be the best, if you want to beat the rest, dedication’s what you need’.

Some nights he would chuck in some tap dancing. A winning formula – it ran for almost thirty years.

I got my own Record Breakers moment last week, when I was privileged to present Lebanese legend Maxime Chaya with his world record for the fastest row across the Indian Ocean. Only two years ago, more people have stood on the moon than boats been rowed across that sea. Max not only smashed the record by more than a day, he did it with a three-man crew, whereas the previous holders had needed eight.

That earned the trio another world record; being the first three-man crew to row an ocean. Dedication’s what you need. Plus a serious back up team, meticulous preparation and a good dose of stubborn resilience.

Max is no stranger to outrageous adventurers. He has climbed the Seven Summits, skied to both Poles, and at one point was Lebanese champion in five different sports. When most people look at a globe, they ponder its enormity. Max can look at it and say ‘been there, done that’.

Fantastic stuff.

But why a subject for this blog?

Partly because I think the Lebanese press doesn’t make enough of Lebanon’s heroes. The narrative highlights the wrong kind of records – eg guns, international spend and refugees per capita.  Max is, in his quiet way, showing a different face of Lebanon.

But also because Max looks at these insane feats and starts thinking about how to overcome them. All of us who care about Lebanon’s stability need to look at the current challenges, great as they are, and seek ways to overcome them. Few of us are going to be record breakers. But we can get Lebanon to the other side of this stormy ocean.

There was a Brit in Max’s crew, rowing hard. And the Brits are part of the Lebanon stability effort too . Dedication’s what we need.

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