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25 Mind-Blowing Facts we Learned in Coach’s First Year

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  1. The first thousand miles of England’s motorway network were sketched out by official surveyors in 1938 using childrens’ crayons on a map given away free with Tidbits magazine.
  2. Underwater Swimming appeared in the 1900 Olympics – competitors had to swim for as long and as far as they could underwater, with one point awarded for every second that passed and two for every metre covered. Dane Peder Lykkeberg finished third despite swimming for 90 seconds compared to French winner Charles Devendille’s 68.4 – because he swam in a circle.
  3. During freefall on a regular skydive you’ll accelerate to around 115-130mph, although that’s well short of the 833.9mph Felix Baumgartner hit when he jumped out of a balloon 24 miles above the Earth.
  4. Most spiral staircases in castles turn clockwise going up, forcing attacking swordsmen to use their generally inferior left hand.
  5. In the first half of the 20th century, cigarettes were seen as a cure for asthma, were often endorsed by doctors, and were promoted by the great stars of the time: Gary Cooper and Betty Grable – who both died of lung cancer – and cartoon character Fred Flintstone.
  6. The average British man consumes most alcohol at 25.
  7. Warm up, by all means, but there’s no evidence that static stretching prevents injuries.
  8. The average British male takes in 40% more alcohol during December.
  9. Over two-thirds of people under 50 have herpes.
  10. Walking a marathon will burn close to 3,000 calories.
  11. Lamb doner meat is only entirely lamb a third of the time (according to an FSA survey in 2014, which found that beef and chicken often bulk up the product).
  12. The elite men’s record for a beer mile (where you down a beer after every circuit of a four-lap course) is 4:47, just over a minute longer than the record for a non-drinking mile.
  13. Three hot drinks a day, two sugars in each, and the calories quickly add up to 36,135 a year.
  14. A large, sweet multiplex popcorn contains 1,005 calories.
  15. Sunshine boosts testosterone levels in men.
  16. Greek 6th-century Olympic wrestler Milo of Croton ate 9kg of meat and bread a day, washed down with 8.5 litres of wine.
  17. If you sleep less than seven hours, you’re three times more likely to contract a cold.
  18. The first Modern Olympic Marathon was in 1896.
  19. Cancer only rarely develops in naked mole rats.
  20. 84% of adults in the UK have one or more fillings.
  21. The body can survive without the stomach, spleen, 75% of the liver, 80% of the intestines, a kidney, a lung and almost the entire pelvic organ range.
  22. In the 3,100-mile Self-Transcendence race, most athletes wear out 10 to15 pairs of shoes.
  23. 44% of Brits are unable to name the function of their lungs.
  24. Hampstead has the longest staircase on the Tube: 320 steps.
  25. Ron Hill, 77, who won the Boston Marathon in 1970, hasn’t missed a day’s running since 1964.

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