Former soldier Darren Hardy from England is the focus of a new documentary after he took on an incredible 10 Ironman-distance triathlons in 10 days.
In October 2020, the dad and athlete, who left the Army after being diagnosed with PTSD, found himself at a crossroads, even contemplating taking his own life.
But the one thing that helped him cope mentally was extreme ultra endurance events. He decided to take on his biggest challenge to date, to complete 10 long-distance triathlons on 10 consecutive days in 10 different locations.
Each Ironman distance triathlon includes a 3.9km swim, a 180.2km cycle and a 42.2km run.
His impressive feat has so far raised £17,000 for the Help for Heroes charity .
A documentary, Perseverance, about his challenge is now available to view on endurance sports channel, esTV. Thanks to support from the UK bike brand Ribble, the documentary is free to watch.
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'My toughest challenge yet'
Darren started his 10 Ironman-distance challenge with a 3.9km swim in The Quays, Surrey. He came out of the water saying: “I’m finding it hard to talk now because my lips are frozen.”
As the first day unfolds, more doubt over the challenge emerges leaving a question mark over the whole adventure. Yet Darren’s perseverance prevails and the documentary follows every swim, cycle and run.
The huge solitary physical and mental challenge is supported by a team of family, friends, charity and brand partners, nutritionists and physiotherapists.
He finished his challenge at the tourist attraction, the London Eye, having recorded a total of 28km of swimming, 1262km of cycling and 255km of running over the 10 days.
Darren said: “I’ve pushed myself to my physical limits before, but this challenge was up there as the toughest."
Darren reported that he got through by "gritting my teeth and enduring mile upon mile of pain – and then getting up and doing it all again the next day".
He added: “However, no matter how tough it got, I was going to make it to the end – no matter what – and the feeling of completing the challenge was incredible.
“Pushing myself physically also helps my mental wellbeing, so I want to motivate others to do the same so they can feel the benefits for themselves. If I can help just one person then I have achieved a small goal.”
Andy Smallwood, CEO Ribble Cycles, said the documentary shows how an individual with drive, determination and passion can overcome adversity and achieve greatness and inspiration. He said: "It’s a great insight into one of Darren’s toughest challenges."
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Fiona Russell is a widely published adventure journalist and blogger, better known as Fiona Outdoors. She is based in Scotland and is an all-round outdoors enthusiast with favorite activities including trail running, mountain walking, mountain biking, road cycling, triathlon and skiing (both downhill and backcountry). Aside from her own adventures, Fiona's biggest aim is to inspire others to enjoy getting outside and exploring, especially through her writing. She is also rarely seen without a running skort! Find out more at Fiona Outdoors.