The human body is capable of amazing things. The people on this list pushed their body to the limit to achieve record-breaking and jaw-dropping acts of extreme athletic feats in the year 2015. They range from age 16 to 105, showing that people of any age and background are capable of accomplishing astonishing feats. Although the people on this list specialize in different sports and have different goals, one thing unites them all: a passion for eating well, exercising, and pushing fitness to its limit.
John Beeden, 53
Accomplishment: First to Row Solo Across the Pacific Ocean
- John Beeden, 53, became the first person to row solo across the Pacific Ocean from North America.
- The British man departed from San Francisco on June 1, 2015 and arrived in Australia on December 27, a 209 day journey.
- He rowed an average of 15 hours a day for a total of 7,400 nautical miles. Resupply boats would drop food off for him when his supply ran low.
- Beeden endured all the dangers of the open ocean. He was stalked by sharks, almost overturned by a whale, and battered by storms. At times his boat was pushed back hundreds of miles by the wind, lengthening his journey and providing extra physical and mental challenge.
- Beeden has also rowed across the Atlantic Ocean.
Maryana Naumova, 16
Accomplishment: Bench-pressed 330lbs
- 2015 was another record-shattering year for powerlifting prodigy Maryana Naumova. The Moscow teen holds over 18 world records in weightlifting.
- This March, Maryana Naumova bench-pressed 330 pounds at the Arnold Classic Tournament, the girls’ world record. 330lbs not only gives her the record for strongest girl ever, but puts her in an elite echelon that even few adult men ever reach.
- The “princess of the barbell” has drawn admiration for her weightlifting and criticism for her political activity; she has visited controversial locales such as Syria, North Korea, and Eastern Ukraine.
James Lawrence, 39
Accomplishment: Completed 50 Ironmans in 50 days
- An Ironman is a triathlon consisting of a 2.4 mile swim, followed by a 112-mile bike ride, followed by a marathon.
- James Lawrence did an Ironman every day for 50 straight days. He started in Hawaii, moved on to Alaska, then preformed one in each of the contiguous 48 states.
- Ate 4000-6000 calories a day while training and 8,000 calories a day while performing the marathon.
- Lawrence preformed this extreme display of fitness to raise awareness about childhood obesity. Lawrence said “the reason we’re obese is because not many people are preparing food anymore. We’re in a society of fast-paced, instant-gratification attitudes, so a lot of people aren’t taking the time to do home-cooked meals anymore.”
George Hood, 57
Accomplishment: Held a plank for 5 hours and 15 minutes
- Former Marine and DEA agent George Hood shattered the world record for the longest hold in an abdominal plank position.
- Most workouts call for one minute planks, but Hood stayed in a plank position for a total of five hours 15 minutes and 15 seconds.
- The former record was held by Beijing police officer Mao Weidong. In 2014 Weidong held a plank for four hours and 16 minutes.
Nik Wallenda, 36
Accomplishment: Walked across the spinning Orlando Eye
- The acrobatic daredevil Nik Wallenda walked at dizzying heights across the spinning Orlando Eye.
- Using his practice well-honed sense of balance and abdominal strength, Wallenda preformed this dizzying walk.
- Wallenda has also walked across a 1,800 ft. tight rope stretched across Niagara falls.
Tommy Caldwell, 36 and Kevin Jorgeson, 30
Accomplishment: First-ever to climb the difficult Dawn Wall
- The two rock climbers scaled the 3,000 foot face of El Capitan in the Yosemite Valley. The Dawn Wall is widely acknowledged to be the most difficult climb in all of rock climbing.
- The duo took 19 days to finish the gravity-defying task. Without any special equipment, they had to rely on only their hands and feet to scale the nearly blank mountain face.
- Food had to be brought up to the climbers on ropes, and they slept in tents hanging vertically off the cliff of the mountain.
- “I seriously doubt if this project could be completed alone. It’s such a huge undertaking. And it’s so easy to get crushed under that weight,” Jorgeson said. “But when you have a partner, it changes everything.”
Jessica Ennis-Hill, 29
Accomplishment: Won world title just one year after giving birth
- A women’s heptathlon consists of seven events: 100 meters hurdles, high jump, shot put, 200 meters, long jump, javelin throw, 800 meters. The first four events are preformed on day one, the remaining three on day two.
- Ennis-Hill, a 2012 Olympic Champion, won the 2015 Women’s Championship after giving birth just one year ago.
- Not only did Ennis-Hill win the gold, but she amassed an impressive 6,669 points, leaving the second place finisher more than 115 points behind.
- “Only a handful of women have celebrated a world title after giving birth, and the majority of those have come in endurance races, where pregnancy may confer some benefits. But in the heptathlon? Never. In fact many sport scientists I spoke to after Ennis-Hill announced she was pregnant last year privately doubted that it could be done.”
Simone Biles, 18
Accomplishment: First woman to win three gold medals, back to back, in the all around portion of the Gymnastics Championships
- The young gymnast cleaned up at the 2015 Gymnastics Championships in Glasgow. Her gold medal wins at the competition moved her total count to 10.
- Her floor routine, balance beam performance, and pole vault left the audience stunned as Biles flawlessly executed difficult flips at dizzying speeds.
- Fans are anticipating a huge performance from Simone Biles at this year’s Olympic games in Brazil.
Hidekichi Miyazaki, 105
Accomplishment: Oldest competitive runner
- Miyazaki entered the Guinness Book of World records as the fast man in the world in the over-105 age group, after sprinting a 100m dash in 42.22 seconds. The centenarian claims that he has scored even better times in practice.
- The elderly Japanese man took up running at 90. He attributes his longevity and high fitness levels to daily exercise and eating in moderation.
- “I can’t think about retiring,” said Miyazaki, who will compete in the Japanese masters championships next month. “I have to continue for a few more years, to show my gratitude to my fans.”
Anders Fannemel, 24
Sport: Ski Jumping
Accomplishment: Longest ski jump ever
- The Norwegian ski jumper shattered the world record for longest-ever ski jump on February 15, 2015. He sailed an amazing 251 meters (825 feet) through the air.