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Beyond the Horizon Extreme Adventures at the End of the World By Richard Parks

Release date: 20th November, 2014
Publisher: Sphere Books

List Price: £15.99
Our Price: £14.99
You Save: £1 (6%)
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“No sportsman knows how he will handle the end of his career…my time came suddenly and without argument.”

Richard Parks’ introduction to this outstanding book is a typically no-nonsense affair. Like most international rugby players, he had suffered regular injuries, but driven by a desire to get back out onto the pitch, he eventually shook them off and returned to the fray. However, in April 2006 with five minutes remaining in a match between Parks’ team, Newport Gwent Dragons, and Connacht, he felt his shoulder go; he left the pitch immediately.

A few days later, Parks went to see an orthopaedic surgeon, Geoff Graham, who told him,” Your shoulder is irreversibly damaged and will only get worse…my advice to you as a medical professional and a friend is that you should stop playing.”

The news hit Parks like a sledgehammer and his description of coming to terms with the shock is as vivid and heart-rending as anything you will read. As he slipped into a deep depression, he refers to the end of his career as “the end of everything”. A sadness and “crushing melancholy” become life’s boundaries. With his professional career terminated in an instant, Parks was, by his own admission ‘petrified’.

Eventually, he emerged from depression, finally understanding the meaning of the words inscribed his arm tattoo. “The horizon is only the limit of our sight” read the inscription; it made sense after he read Mad, Bad and Dangerous to Know by Ranulph Fiennes.

Parks realised that time hadn’t been called on his sporting life after all.

His drive and energy returned. He became the first person to conquer the highest mountain on each of the world's seven continents and ski to both the North and South Poles in the same calendar year

He completed an ultra-marathon through the Peruvian jungle, tackled the world's highest mountain bike race and took part in an iron man triathlon in Snowdonia as he prepared to record the fastest solo, unsupported and unassisted journey to the South Pole.

This inspirational book captures the reader’s attention and grips it hard throughout as it shows how an international sportsman deals with the sudden end to a career, while providing a lesson for us all: our horizons are not limited by sight – ask Richard Parks.


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