Give us a brief introduction of who you are and what you do.
My name is Louis Alexander and I’m a 22-year-old British adventurer and explorer and a Red2Blue ambassador. At the end of last year, I took a leap, and made the decision to pursue my passion for adventure full-time. So far this year, I’ve completed four projects across four different disciplines: running 17 marathons in 17 consecutive days, rowing the English Channel, climbing Mont Blanc and most recently swimming from Europe to Asia across the Hellespont.
Underlying all my adventures, is my passion to fly the flag for British adventure and use these endeavours to support charities and causes far bigger than myself, which include Alzheimer’s Research UK and Walking With The Wounded.
Your adventures span many different disciplines. What’s appealing about the variety of activities and how do you decide on what your next challenge is going to be?
My focus is on endurance and the ability of the mind, which in my opinion, transcends all the different disciplines. From ultra running to endurance swimming, I enjoy the variety in my training during different times of the year, as my preparation switches depending on the upcoming challenge.
Choosing the next challenge is the easy part for me! I’ve started to be called a ‘professional adventurer’ this year, but I believe ‘professional dreamer’ would suit me far better! I have huge plans and ambitions for the future, but my focus right now is on building up my challenges progressively, as well as my mental and physical ability.
How did you get involved with Gazing?
Mountaineer and friend, Adriana Brownlee, who is currently climbing the 14 highest peaks in the world, introduced me to Martin and the Gazing team earlier in the year. After working together on my mental preparation for my various challenges and attending their Red2Blue coach course, they kindly invited me to become a Red2Blue ambassador, a real privilege!
What has been the toughest moment of your career to date?
There was a moment during my ’17 marathons in 17 days’ earlier in the year when everything changed. The runs started off relatively smoothly, and despite the high winds of Storm Eunice, the UK’s worst storm in over thirty years, I was actually enjoying it. But on day ten, I woke up with a chest infection and shin splints.
This added serious complications, and tested my body and mind to new limits, but my support crew and I prevailed. Looking back on the challenge, it’s not crossing the finish line of the final marathon on day seventeen that I am most proud of. Instead, it’s day ten, when I was at a crossroad, to either fight on or give in, in other words switching from a Red head state back to Blue. That’s the defining moment I reflect on!
How did Gazing Red2Blue help you through that and other challenges?
I have tested Red2Blue now in several different extreme environments, from marathons to mountains, but my most recent challenge was for a swimming event. I used my Red2Blue swimming the infamous Hellespont in Turkey, one of the busiest shipping lanes in the world, which separates Europe and Asia.
As we were waiting on the start line, I was incredibly nervous. In my opinion, nerves only show you care, and normally I am able to use them as fuel to switch on and focus. But in this case, nerves were beginning to turn into doubts. As I looked across the water, I feared I may have taken on too big of a challenge for my first ever swimming event.
Through the power of Red2Blue, I was able to zoom out and zone in. Zooming out and opening my perspective: remembering all the training and preparation I had invested into this swim. I am proud to say I completed the swim in 1 hour and 8 minutes, and I owe that to Gazing’s Red2Blue mindset.
How do you stay motivated?
The truth is, I absolutely love adventure and these challenges. I’m aware of how incredibly lucky I am to have found my passion at such an early stage of my life, so I will not take it for granted! I am determined to make the most out of this opportunity.
What’s the best piece of advice anyone’s ever given you?
Recently, I read somewhere “go slow when you can, and fast when you must.” I think that applies brilliantly to endurance challenges, but also to life. Being present and enjoying the moment is something I am slowly improving on, because when you look back, it’s the small moments which become the big things.
Finally, how do you switch off?
I love reading, and for me, this definitely has a relaxing effect I haven’t found elsewhere. My recommendations would be ‘Achieving The Impossible’ by Lewis Pugh or ‘Running For My Life’ by Jordan Wylie if anyone is looking for something new.