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When Apollo 11 touched down in 1969, Buzz Aldrin and Neil Armstrong became the first humans to set foot on the moon. After a worldwide goodwill tour Buzz was asked to lead NASA’s school for test pilots. He is now circling the globe encouraging scientists, politicians and businesspeople to collaborate in the quest to create a permanent colony on Mars: “It will be built by robots controlled from satellites. Every 26 months, new pioneers will take a one-way trip!”

At the age of 21 Pedro lived through the horrifying plane crash in the Andes, in which 30 lost their lives. With his rugby teammates he survived for 70 days in the middle of snow-capped mountains. They had no food, equipment or climbing expertise. After finally being rescued, Pedro studied economics and rose to CEO of Argentina’s biggest brewery. He now shares a remarkable story of human strength, showing how we can all influence outcomes at work and in life.

Benedict has lived in the Siberian wilds, survived the Skeleton Coast and crossed the Gobi. He’s contracted malaria whilst being pinned down by civil war in Papua New Guinea, he’s been shot at, hunted and left to stitch up his own chest: “It’s a bit more extreme than the corporate jungle, though there are parallels.”

8 million people watched live as the Austrian BASE jumper made history: he became the first human to break the sound barrier without the assistance of a vehicle. In so doing he also broke the record for the highest manned balloon flight and highest skydive. With remarkable film clips Felix shows the planning, preparation and teamwork that made it all possible. Sharing his exhilaration, he sees his story as proof that “the only limit is the one you set yourself.”

In an extraordinary show of endurance, Mark cycled around the world in 194 days, taking 81 days off the record. Almost a decade later he took on the challenge again, this time aiming to travel around the world in 80 days. He smashed the existing record for cycling over 18,000 by completing the trip in 78 days. He’s also cycled the length of the Americas and of Africa. His approach is straightforward: “Test your limits - but don’t allow the big picture to frighten you. Devise a series of manageable targets, develop consistent work output, and teach yourself to calculate and control the risks.”

Leaving school with no qualifications, Andy kept to family tradition and became a coalminer. His friends laughed when he started climbing, but within three years he ascended the north face of the Eiger. As in his book Learning to Breathe, Andy explains how he made it from 3,000’ below ground to the Himalayas, and why he now returns to search for new routes to the summit. It’s about the joys of exceeding others’ expectations and breaking new ground.

The former Royal Marine (aka The Arctic Tractor) led the first unsupported UK expedition from Canada to the geographic North Pole. After taking disaffected British children to African classrooms with Channel 4, Alan showed us the method to making good with a new book: Lead Yourself To Success. In presentations he emphasises the need to question norms, build total trust and make decisions purely based on the facts. Alan also advocates leading from behind.

Ed was chosen to join Cracknell and Fogle in a race to the South Pole. They skied for 16 hours each day and came in second – without any polar experience. In his workshop the hospital doctor uses storytelling and mindfulness techniques to give participants the tools to embrace challenge and live for the moment. Ed shows how exploring our feelings, opening up to change, managing criticism and agreeing short-term goals helps us withstand extreme pressure.

Dave is currently ploughing his way through a series of 25 expeditions. Each is at least 1000 miles, using a different non-motorised form of transport. Dave has paddle-boarded the Mississippi and skateboarded all the way from from Perth to Brisbane. He might also admit to dating 100 women in 100 days.

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