Outside Edge (11/04/10)

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The Independent Online

Taking on the world takes on a whole new meaning as Dan Martin prepares to embark on his "global triathlon". That's a 2,950-mile swim across the Atlantic from Nova Scotia to Brest in France, then a 9,000-mile cycle across Europe and Russia to the Bering Strait, followed by a 5,500-mile run across North America. He has piled on the blubber and will weigh 24st at the start on 8 May, to keep warm in the water, but will have slimmed down to 12st 7lb by the finish in two years' time. He is also contemplating a 1,000-mile detour to Philadelphia to run up the steps used in the film 'Rocky'. The Cambridge teacher hopes to raise £1m for charity; donate at danmartinextreme.com. Or go with him.


Cost of hosting the Olympic torch relay for London 2012 according to Somerset County Council, who have decided not to bid for it to spare the taxpayer. The sum is based on road closures. Next: gold medals to be made of chocolate.

Dirty sheets of the week

Last week we celebrated the engagement of Indian tennis player Sania Mirza and Pakistani cricketer Shoaib Malik. Then things got complicated; he was already married to Ayesha Siddiqui. They tied the knot over the phone in 2002 after she sent him photos that were reportedly not of her but of a more attractive lady. He said he had never met her and the vows were invalid, until she handed over to police the bedclothes from their wedding night to show that the marriage was consummated. Another Pakistan cricketer, Nasir Jamshed, 20, was arrested for alleged cheating after it was noticed that four English exam papers were written by the same hand (not his); he was stumped for an answer.

Good week for

Alex Evans, an RNLI lifeboatman, helped rescue Mark Corbett as his boat 'Titanic' sank in the Caribbean by taking his call while in a DIY store in Aberystwyth, jotting down his position on a till receipt and contacting the coastguard... Mohr Keet of South Africa became the oldest man to do a bungee jump, aged 96... and John McAllister of Oregon scored 41,338,740 points on the Asteroids video game over 58 hours to break the record, set in 1982.

Bad week for

Denard Span, Minnesota Twins baseballer hit his mother in the crowd with a foul ball while at bat in Tampa... Iranian girls' football team, banned from the Youth Olympics for wearing Islamic hijab headscarves... and Wednesbury FC in Birmingham, whose pitch has been closed after a hole to a 100-foot deep mineshaft opened up.

Shear lunacy of the week

If you lost a few pennies on the Grand National, perhaps you should have been at Abbotsham, North Devon instead to bet on the BIG Sheep Grand National, featuring the likes of Red Ram and Woolly Jumper in the sheepstakes. The only problems are if your chosen beast makes a ewe-turn or the bookies pull the wool over your eyes. The sheep are ridden by soft-toy jockeys, unlike at a lacrosse tournament in Colorado which was criticised by animal rights groups after children took part in a sheep rodeo during the breaks. Plans to import the Afghan national pastime of Buzkashi, or polo with a headless goat carcass instead of a ball, to the West may face similar problems. Talk about a nanny state.