James Gwinnett

James Gwinnett

James Gwinnett was a larger than life semi-pro rugby player, an alpha male full of charisma and stature. But in 2013 when a tackle went drastically wrong James was left with a broken neck and his life was to drastically change.

Housebound without pay, he was stripped of his macho identity and his healthy, disciplined routine was replaced with an emptiness he attempted to fill with alcohol. This left him in a spiral of self-medication, depression and alchohol addiction that would last for three years, a time he describes as a dark, tragic merry-go-round.

Before the accident, James Gwinnett had prided himself as ‘one of the lads’, a 6ft 5, 17-stone alpha male. The loss of this identity hit hard, as did the loss of his physical routines and activity.

After three years in a dark place, it would be a fitness challenge that would be his redemption. James entered and ran the London Marathon, a challenge that was the trigger for becoming sober and many more extreme endurance challenges. He has since run marathons on several continents and these have progressed to ultramarathons of increasing distances.

Other endurance challenges James has completed include becoming the first person to run the length of the Cotswolds Way (102 miles) solo and unsupported in May 2021

James Gwinnett was also a ‘recruit’ on Series 4 of Channel 4’s acclaimed SAS: Who Dares Wins, the brutal show that puts civilians through a version of Special Forces training. Spending two weeks at altitude, high up in the Andes, James was one of eight to ‘survive’ through to the final day despite being pushed to his physical and mental limits. He was praised by the Directing Staff for his military officer potential.

Now a serial endurance challenger all over the world, James Gwinnett continues to hone his mental resilience, pushing himself further and further on a continual journey of growth.

James Gwinnett is a powerful and engaging motivational speaker, who tackles the challenging subjects of mental health, overcoming failure and finding identity, engaging audiences with his storytelling technique and unique experiences.

His story is an inspirational one and his message is a reminder of what can be achieved with the right mindset and self belief.

Contact Great British Speakers today to book inspirational survivor of broken neck and serial endurance challenger James Gwinnett  for your next event.

Type Of Speaker


James was a keynote speaker at The Business Exchange South West Charity Conference & Expo 2023. He is a powerful and engaging motivational speaker. He tackled the challenging subject of mental health with class, capturing the audience with his storytelling technique. We had a crowd of delegates waiting to chat with him at the end of his speech, which speaks volumes about his delivery and appeal.”

Anita Jaynes, Founder of The Business Exchange

“James recently joined the team at Concirrus for a motivational talk on overcoming failure and finding your identity. James is an extremely engaging speaker and made everyone feel at ease by providing a safe place to ask lots of questions. His humility, openness and powerful story made the talk unique and exciting to listen to. After the session and hearing about James ultramarathon’s, I felt motivated to sign up to my next marathon! The overall message James shared with the team was the importance of believing in yourself and learning from failure.”

Hannah Freeman, from Concirrus

James spoke to the Junior Section of Tonbridge Juddians RFC at their end of season Prize Giving. To a record packed audience of teenagers and families James delivered a brilliantly motivating presentation on the highs and lows of life in general, taking us though his early stellar playing rugby days / the self-pity of a career ending injury and his personal rebuilding culminating in his appearance on SAS Who Dares Wins. His frank and honest portrayal of the cruelties of life and how to conquer its lows was a fantastic lesson to the young boys, girls and audience as a whole. 2020 is the best example in living memory of how important these life skills are.
John Costello, Tonbridge Juddians RFC Youth Chairman

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