In April 1999, 54 year-old Miles Hilton-Barber completed the toughest foot-race in the World - the Marathon des Sables, a 150 mile Ultra-Marathon race through the 120 degree heat of the Sahara Desert
In April 2000 Miles climbed to a height of 17,500 feet in the Himalayas. He then successfully conquered Kilimanjaro, the highest mountain in Africa at 19,340 feet. A few days later he took part in a military expedition climbing Mt. Blanc , Europe's highest mountain.
For anyone this would be an impressive record, but it is all the more astounding in that Miles has been blind for 20 years. He relies on his friend and sighted guide, Jonathan Cook , to help him achieve his goals.
In November 2000 Miles then set a world record as the first blind person to man-haul a sledge over 400 kilometres across Antarctica. Frostbite prevented him from continuing his amazing bid to be the first blind person to reach the South Pole.
In August 2001 he participated in an 11 day Ultra-marathon event across China, including sections of the Gobi Desert, 12,000 feet high Tibetan mountain tracks and the Great Wall of China. On returning to the UK, he then climbed Ben Nevis (the UK's highest mountain), and abseiled down several tower blocks for charity.
In January 2002 he competed in the Siberian Ice Marathon, billed as "The Coldest Marathon on Earth". A few weeks later, after qualifying as a scuba diver, he undertook 12 open water dives in the Red Sea off Hurghada , Egypt, exploring shipwrecks 80 feet down on coral reefs. He is now qualified as an Advanced Open Water scuba diver.
Six weeks later Miles, as part of a 5-man team, set an astonishing new world record - crossing the entire Qatar Desert non-stop and unsupported. The 200 kilometre journey, pulling a third of a ton of water and supplies behind them, took them over 78 hours day and night, without sleep.
Miles then flew direct to France, having entered in the Paris Marathon due to start 36 hours later, but on arrival in Paris found himself unable to walk and was declared medically unfit due to ankle and feet injuries sustained in the desert.
In July 2003 he participated in the Commonwealth Games Queen's Jubilee Baton Relay Race. Five weeks later Miles then set off on the massive "Around the World in Eighty Ways" project. This was a 93-day 38,000 mile circumnavigation of the entire world, accompanied by two disabled friends, using over 80 challenging forms of transport, promoting the untapped potential of people with disabilities. These included swimming 11 miles under the Red Sea, hot air ballooning over the Nevada Desert and setting the lap record for a blind driver at the Malaysian Grand Prix Circuit, racing a 200kph Lotus.
On returning to Britain, he was voted as BBC Radio 5 Live's "Alternative Sports personality of the Year", featured in the latest edition of Debrett's "People of Today", and presented with an Honorary "Master of the University" award by Derby University, in recognition of his remarkable achievements in endurance events and his major contribution to charity.
He is a recent recipient of the Rotary International Paul Harris Award.
Miles set another world first in August, becoming the first blind person to fly the English Channel in a microlight. He has also just set a new British high-altitude record, climbing to 15,500 feet in sub-zero, open cockpit conditions. In July he plans to embark on a 35-day, 12,500 miles world record attempt, flying a microlight from London to Sydney, Australia with Storm Smith, a highly experienced and accomplished microlight pilot, relying on speech-output from his flight instruments.
Miles' past accomplishments also include Grade 5 Zambesi white water rafting, tandem cycling marathons, abseiling, Scottish Grade 3 technical ice climbing, hot-air ballooning, water skiing, the 1998 London Marathon, para-sailing and 40 sky-diving jumps.