Outside Edge (15/08/10)

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The Independent Online

Another week, another extraordinary feat of endurance. Former British Army captain Ed Stafford, 34, of Hallaton in Leicestershire has become the first man to walk the entire length of the Amazon river, some 6,000 miles from Mount Mismi in Peru to Belem in Brazil. It took 859 days – and, he says, 50,000 mosquito bites – during which time he was imprisoned for murder, chased by Ashaninka Indians and had his mouth filled with concrete by locals who thought he was prospecting for oil. But even he didn't have to face the peril that Walter Kaiser, a 59-year-old Austrian, endured while climbing the Hochkesslekopf. He tumbled 50ft after being hit by a falling goat. He felt a bit sheepish.


The amount bequeathed by cricketer W G Grace, the most famous sportsman of the Victorian age, when he died in 1915 (£617,000 in modern money). Karl Marx's legacy was £250 (£9,000), Charles Darwin's £146,911 (£13m). Well left!

Crafty punts of the week

From one record-breaking river journey to another. Four students have broken the "world" record for punting from Cambridge to Oxford, completing the 204-mile odyssey in 12 days. But messing about on the river can be dangerous. Last year, three "punt police" were deployed to patrol the River Cam at a cost of £10,000 after turf wars broke out between rival operators which caused 151 clashes over a three-year period including knife attacks – with one tourist suffering a broken hip. It's a lucrative business, a 12-seater craft bringing in up to £150 an hour. And trouble returned to Mill Pond last week as two punts worth £10,000 were sunk with concrete. You wonder if it was worth a punt.

Good week for

Andy Burnham, MP and Everton fan's Labour leadership bid was kickstarted by a donation of £10,000 from Liverpool's Jamie Carragher... Hollie Walcott, sister of Arsenal and England footballer Theo, qualified for the British Bodybuilder Championships... and Jay Stally, hit three holes-in-one inside six days at West Hove golf club in Sussex having taken up the sport 18 months ago.

Bad week for

Benni McCarthy, West Ham striker must lose 1kg in weight within seven days or be fined a week's wages (£38,000)... Laszlo Lovas, Hungarian winger with Boston Town was arrested for hiding his true identity as Romanian Lorand Borbely for six years... and Mike and Carol Russell, pensioners were refused admission to Colwyn Bay for a cricket match between Glamorgan and Lancashire because they had metal spoons in their bag.

Stunted growth of the week

They're big guys, American footballers, so it's no surprise they have to train hard to keep in trim. But Brian Cushing's excuse for failing a drugs test really takes the biscuit. The Houston Texans linebacker, the NFL defensive rookie of the year, insists he tested positive for human chorionic gonadotropin – often used to restore testicular size after steroid abuse – because he had "overtrained athlete syndrome" which caused a hormone surplus. The same may have affected David File, a New Zealand lawn bowler who was banned for 10 years after exposing himself at a tournament. He said he was just telling his team they were "playing like dicks". He didn't knock one off with his wood.