Ian Mackay: Guinness World Record Holder

Ian Mackay: Guinness World Record Holder

On June 21, 2022, Ian Mackay set a Guinness World Record by traveling the furthest distance in 24 hours using a mouth controlled power wheelchair. This was achieved at Sauvie Island, Oregon, reaching a total distance of 184.4 miles, breaking the previous record of 174 miles. For years Ian has been a friend of the RAM® team, and we are beyond proud of his incredible achievement. You can find Ian’s full blog documenting the world record here.

Ian is the founder of Ian’s Ride, a nonprofit organization that promotes outdoor accessibility, activities and support groups for paraplegics and quadriplegics. The cause is truly inclusive to all, as cyclists and others join in on their journeys. Ian has been a lifelong outdoorsman, before and after his injury in 2008 that had left him paralyzed from the neck down. In the years following, Ian persisted by gradually regaining his independence, and embarking on long trips in his wheelchair. Eventually Ian was taking state-wide trips in his wheelchair!

“I go out riding a lot, like daily. In fact, I haven’t missed a day outside in well over 5 years.”

Ian Mackay

The Guinness World Record Ian was seeking would take extreme levels of strength and endurance, both physically and mentally. Needless to say Ian is no stranger to these challenges. In addition to the difficulties in breaking the record, a big part of this project involved following the strict guidelines and parameters set by Guinness:

“The Guinness requirements for evidence are quite robust. They want 24-hour video evidence of completion. GPS data of the attempt in KML format (basically just Strava). They want lots of photo evidence. They require two witnesses/timekeepers to be on shift at all times and they can only work four-hour shifts. These individuals must also be independent, meaning they do not know me or anyone involved with the attempt. A surveyor must evaluate the course to ensure that the overall attempt is not made downhill. Finally, you need proof that the power wheelchair is commercially available.”

That final detail about the commercially available wheelchair became somewhat of a blessing in disguise, as their original plan was to use a custom designed wheelchair with enough voltage to double his speed compared to his daily chair. But due to time constraints, supply chain issues and the work involved, they were not able to have this chair ready in time. By reverting to his daily Invacare SP2 chair, this resolved any doubt of whether the original chair would have met the Guinness guidelines.

As for other chair equipment, Ian utilized RAM® Mounts for supporting two different phones, a GoPro and light accessory. For a feat as extreme and unique as this, Ian had to modify his original RAM® Mount setup in a way far beyond typical use. Due to the modularity, premium materials and industrial standards of these mounting components, RAM® is the only mount provider that could make this happen. For reference, these are the parts Ian used for his world record attempt and can be seen in this photo:

This is not the first world record set using RAM® Mounts, and will not be the last. In 2012 Felix Baumgartner broke the sound barrier while freefalling from the Red Bull Stratos, setting a number of world records. The Red Bull Stratos was rigged with multiple RAM® Mounts supporting various cameras, and a RAM® Tele-Pole™ & Swing Arm mount supporting the main interface.

​​© Jörg Mitter/Red Bull Content Pool
​​© Jay Nemeth/Red Bull Content Pool

In addition to the details of his blog, we reached out to Ian with a few follow up questions:

We noticed your mount setup had two different phones. Can you give a brief summary as to how you were using both phones?

“I've consulted with Apple over the past five years and keep a work phone with me at all times to test upcoming iOS releases. The sturdiness and stability of a RAM® mount allow me to do much of my work out on the trail or when I'm on the go. With the confidence that my phones won't move when I'm out bouncing around, I can independently do testing on these devices. This is huge! It provides me with a mobile office and allows me to spend more time doing what I love, being outside, rather than stuck in front of a computer. During the world record, both phones came in particularly handy. One Guinness requirement is that you have GPS data of the entire ride. I tried to have redundancies everywhere, including that GPS data collection. So I had both phones running Strava to ensure the entire ride was captured.”

Do you have any plans for the faster chair that wound up not being used for the event? Will that eventually replace the chair you use daily?

“I'm not sure what I'll do with the faster chair. I first need to spend some time in it and feel how comfortable I am at the higher speeds. It's good to remember that going too fast got me paralyzed in the first place. However, if I do find myself comfortable riding around in speeds in the double digits, it's quite likely it will become my daily driver. Would be fun to participate in some local marathons and 10K's to see how I do.”

What additional hobbies do you enjoy when you're not breaking records?

“I love birding and exploring the beauty of the Olympic Peninsula. In the winter I particularly love seeking out waterfowl. I find it tremendously rewarding providing peer support to individuals living with paralysis. I spend much of my free time in support groups. Finally, I really enjoy craft beer and love trying something new at my local taproom.”

What is the most valuable lesson you've learned throughout this entire experience?

“It's amazing what the human body and mind can endure, our only limits are the ones we set for ourselves. However, it's important to reach out for help when it's needed. That's what life is all about. Supporting the ambitions of others when they are in a time of need and reaching out for help when you need it. Completion of a goal with others is much sweeter than doing it by yourself.”

We cannot express enough how proud we are of Ian and his accomplishments. We are honored to have played a small but necessary role in this event and are thankful that we can manufacture a product that improves lives, improves businesses, and meets the needs of the most demanding environments.

Be sure to follow Ian’s Ride on social media. He took only a brief rest after becoming a Guinness World Record holder, but already he is back at it, planning his next big trips and events!

Discover More