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James Ketchell

Ultimate triathlete and motivational speaker, James Ketchell, is a highly popular presenter.  His latest incredible challenge was breaking a world record, raising sponsorship and  circumnavigating the globe in a gyrocopter.  James relates the lessons and challenges of his various adventures to corporate events.

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Record Breaking Ultimate Triathlon Adventurer, motivational speaker on goal setting, leadership, teambuilding, overcoming adversity & change


On 16th May 2011 James Ketchell reached the summit of Mount Everest.  Nearly a year previous to that James had rowed single handed across the Atlantic Ocean.  Three years prior to that he was recovering from a serious motorcycle accident that left him with broken legs, a severely broken and dislocated ankle and the prognosis that he was likely to suffer a permanent walking impairment and would certainly not be able to continue the active physical lifestyle he had enjoyed up to that point.

In 2014 James completed a record breaking solo unsupported cycle around the world – 18,000 miles in total averaging 100 miles a day and raising funds for the Elifar Foundation, a charity which helps to improve the quality of life for disabled children and adults.  This challenge completed his `Ultimate Triathlon’

In 2019 James successfully set a world record by becoming the first person to circumnavigate the globe in a gyrocopter.  His latest adventure in 2022 was to ski 400 miles unsupported across Greenland Ice Cap with a small team to raise funds for Kindled Spirit (a Mumbai based charity raising funds for vulnerable young women).


James talks with candour and with enthusiasm about his response to challenges.  He describes his approach to these extraordinary tasks, continuously setting incremental and achievable goals. He also talks about how he draws upon a capacity for making and cementing contacts to secure necessary support. Plus how he prepares for and experiences the physical effort these challenges demand.  As he tells his inspirational story with humility, the listener finds it easy to believe that they too could achieve the extraordinary.

James is also passionate about the places he has been and the people he has met and talks with knowledge and affection of their lives, culture and beliefs and of the debt he owes them.  This is particularly so with respect to the Sherpas who assisted him on Everest and who were instrumental in helping him back off the mountain when he succumbed to a severe lung infection on the descent.

The key messages that James brings are that we can set ourselves and achieve difficult goals. Also that the capability to succeed is within everyone.  His practical and pragmatic lessons include the importance of interim goals, breaking the task down into small, achievable steps each one of which increases the commitment to the overall goal.  These are the need for self belief; the willingness of others to help if only you dare to ask and of the value of persistence.  As he neared the summit of Everest he learned that the last few hundred meters are completed ten steps at a time.  Ten steps – rest – ten steps – rest – until the summit is achieved.  With hindsight, this has been the secret of his success to date.

Overcoming adversity

James also knows what it’s like to face disappointment, after his second attempt in 2015 to row 4000 miles across the Indian Ocean ended in a dramatic live saving rescue, when his rowing partner sustained a serious head injury during a storm. James found himself clinging to a rope ladder on the side of a 100,000 ton crude oil tanker in Gail force winds as he climbed to safety. Although James did not complete the crossing the project had a media reach of 1.3 billion people around the world.


James debut book, The Ultimate Triathlon was published in 2016.  His latest book, focusing on resilience, is due out in 2021 entitled, It’s All Mental.

Feedback includes:

James is a highly popular motivational speaker.

Fantastic and inspirational talk from James Ketchell for all the team … Great event, would highly recommend to any other business.Simon Rhodes, Group Commercial / Sales Director, Barbour ABI – Virtual conference online presentation May 2020.

“James is an engaging and exciting speaker. His story is a unique one combining personal challenge, adventure, adversity and achievement. I can thoroughly recommend James as his story is authentic and relevant to a business audience whether large or small. He leaves you to draw your own conclusions in a witty and often understated way, which makes it all the more appealing and different. James is not your typical motivational speaker, but rather a very motivated speaker!” Anthony Ainsworth, Commercial Director, Avis UK.

“James was a big hit.” Avantgarde / Optimum Nutrition.

“This was a highly entertaining and enjoyable presentation that was also truly inspiring.” Nick Garlick, MD, Nebulas Solutions.

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