Outside Edge: Murray we can all be proud of

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The Independent Online

While Britain goes a bit crazy about Andy Murray, in the long run his Scottish namesake Andrew Murray may be more deserving of our praise. The 30-year-old GP from Edinburgh has completed a 2,664-mile run from John O'Groats to the Sahara desert in Morocco. The journey, which broke the world record for the most consecutive ultra-marathons, lasted 78 days in which he averaged 34 miles a day. He didn't take a single day off in his bid to raise £100,000 for the Yamaa Trust, which fights poverty in Mongolia. He gets married in three weeks, so another long road lies ahead. The Guinness Book of World Records has decided to stop publishing details of animal-based sports because of the cruel treatment involved in activities like elephant polo and camel-wrestling. But Edge saluted the seal pups who swam 350 miles and now a polar bear has swum continuously for nine days, covering 426 miles in search of food and losing 22 per cent of its bodyweight. Must have been living off iceberg lettuce.


Age of American fitness guru Jack LaLanne, who died last Sunday. A pioneer of healthy eating and the gym movement, to celebrate his 70th birthday he swam a mile across Long Beach Harbour in California towing 70 boats and 70 passengers while handcuffed and shackled.

Lauda should have kept quiet

Poland's equivalent of Andy Gray and Richard Keys must be rubbing their, er, hands with glee after Warta Poznan FC appointed the former Playboy model Izabela Lukomska-Pyzalska as a club director (try saying that, Paul Merson). At least she'll be used to wolf whistles, having run a few building sites in between taking her top off (like all good builders do). "I'll be looking for the same things in football: order and discipline," she said. The latest old sporting motormouth is ex-Formula One driver Niki Lauda, who is apoplectic that Austria's version of Strictly Come Dancing has allowed one of the celebrities, gay TV presenter Alfons Haider, to dance with a man. Lauda, who now runs an airline, defended himself against accusations of homophobia by saying he employed "loads" of gay people, "even as instructors". Sounds like he might be off his trolley dolly.

Good week

Francesca Schiavone, the Italian tennis player, won the longest-ever women's singles match at a Grand Slam event – 4hr 44min – defeating Svetlana Kuznetsova 6-4 1-6 16-14 at the Australian Open...

Tim Henman, former British tennis player, was revealed to be a hero of the reclusive American author J D Salinger...

John Stone, a car salesman from Chicago, was sacked for refusing to take off a Green Bay Packers tie after they beat the Bears to reach the Super Bowl but was given a job by a rival firm when customers said they would buy a car off him.

Bad week

Lionel Messi was fined at least €2,000 for displaying a T-shirt with a message wishing his mother a happy birthday after he scored for Barcelona against Racing Santander...

Oscar Pistorius, the South African double-amputee Paralympic sprinter, suffered his first defeat in a 100m race for seven years at the IPC Athletics World Championships in Christchurch, losing to Jerome Singleton in a photo finish...

Michael Schumacher, the Formula One driver and seven-time world champion, was revealed to suffer from motion sickness whenever he uses a car simulator.

Council under fire for pooling resources

One of the more bizarre announcements of the week has to be the Russian president, Dmitry Medvedev, outlining his plans to open six ski resorts in the northern Caucasus mountains, a hotbed of insurrection not noted as a tourist destination and the area blamed for most of Russia's terrorist attacks. He is seeking more than $13bn (£8.2bn) in private funds, while the state would invest $1bn in the hope of creating as many as 200,000 jobs, the laudable idea being that economic investment in the region will help to ease the pain caused by years of civil war. The most tasteless suggestion of the week has to go to Redditch Borough Council in Worcestershire, who are considering using the heat produced by a nearby crematorium to keep the indoor swimming pool at the Abbey Stadium Sports Centre warm, thereby saving themselves £14,500 a year. Needless to say this has caused a few ripples in the local community, and there are grave doubts about the plan.