Extreme athlete extraordinaire, Dan Martin…
28 year-old Dan intends to become the first man to complete a global triathlon which, if he pulls it off, will be no mean feat. Imagine this: the first leg will involve crossing the pond to the French town of Brest, followed by leg 2 – cycling across Europe and Asia and finally, leg 3 – trekking and running across Canada.
Doesn’t sound too arduous does it? Bare in mind that ‘the pond’ we are talking about is the 5,700km Atlantic. Quite a big little pond…
He got this crazy idea whilst cycling across the Sahara in temperatures of 51°c. “My seat was actually burning through my shorts. I just thought that it would be really nice to have a dip in the ocean right now,” he said.
You might be wondering why he was cycling across the Sahara? besides the obvious of course… “mad dog an Englishman, out in the midday sun…” I jest. Dan has already completed two extreme expeditions, both on a bicycle and covering a total of 55,000kms:
- 2009 South Korea to Cape Town: 426 days and 7 hours
- 2008 London to Cape Town:
He intends to adhere to any existing rules about swimming oceans. The English Channel swimming rules permit only trunks, goggles, a swimming hat and petroleum jelly to prevent chaffing – so that is what he is going to do.
“It’s the swimming that confuses most people… they can get their heads round the cycling and the running but the thought of swimming across an ocean in just your trunks puts me in the nutcase category”.
Supporting him across the Atlantic will be a boat crew who’ll take a GPS location reading at the end of each day’s swim so that so he can start there again the next morning.
The Atlantic has been swum once before: in 1998 Ben LeComte made it across in a wetsuit with snorkel and flippers. He crossed from Cape Cod to Quiberon in north-west France in 73 days with a one-week break in the Azores due to exhaustion.
Due to the enormity of the cross Atlantic leg, Dan’s training schedule has been dominated by the water “The only thing I can train for at the moment is the swim. Any training I do for running or cycling will be lost in a four month stint at sea, so I’m just spending all my time swimming longer and longer distances and getting used to being in very cold water.” He has been training in the English Channel, the North Sea, the Atlantic, and Loch Ness.
He has delayed the start of this marathon attempt by one year due to many factors – not least that of putting on a fair amount of weight! He is piling it on. He’s managed to get to 21 stone but means to be between 23 and 24 before setting off. “The weight gain is purely for fighting off the cold. Basically there’s nothing between you and this 10°c water so the more you can get between your internal organs and your support system and the ocean that’s trying to literally kill you, the better”.
He then of course has to lose it for the rest of the challenge particularly the last leg of running across Canada when he wants to be between 13-14 stone. “…any heavier than that and I won’t be able to do the run as my joints just won’t be able to take the impact of running 5,500 miles for 9 months”.
The challenge, which is going to take Dan around the world, is predicted to take 18 months with a 4 month swim, a 6 month cycle and a 9 month run.
And what is all this in aid of you might ask?
It is in aid of the Dan Martin Foundation which focuses on the spread of education throughout less developed regions for under privileged children, “the whole point of this is education, environment and expedition and it’s important that it’s in that order. Education is the main thing I’m concerned with and there wouldn’t be much point of this challenge if I was doing it for a laugh”.
In addition to everything else he’s doing, Dan hopes to set up links with 300 hundred schools: 100 from the UK, 100 along his route and 100 from around the rest of the world, so he can broadcast his progress to children in school assemblies and inspire them to “think big”. There are many projects that will benefit from the global triathlon including orphanages in Kenya.
Visit Dan’s website to find out how to donate.
Kick off date? 8th May, 2011.
Place of departure? He will start in the Hudson River at Battery Park, New York, swim past the Statue of Liberty and so into the Atlantic. Next stop: Brest, France. He will be using a shark shield which emits an electro magnetic pulse which is supposed to repel sharks. It’s not 100% proven, but better than nothing, and of course he will have the crew on his back-up boat keeping their eyes peeled. Nothing he’ll be able to do about the jelly fish though…