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Former Marines commando first to complete ultra triathlon from Land's End to John O'Groats

Frankie Tinsley running Ben Nevis in the Talisman Triathlon
Frankie Tinsley and his team running Ben Nevis in the Talisman Triathlon (Image credit: Henry Courtier)

A former Royal Marines Commando has become the first to complete the ‘Talisman Triathlon’ by running, biking and swimming his way from Lands’ End to John O’Groats to raise awareness about mental health.

Over the course of 16 days, from August 7-22, RAF Flight Sergeant Frankie Tinsley undertook the momentous 1650km feat, which took him up some the highest peaks in UK such as Snowdon and Ben Nevis, and across some of the country’s longest lakes including Lake Windermere and Loch Awe.

Frankie Tinsley at the summit of Snowdon in the Talisman Triathlon

Frankie Tinsley at the summit of Snowdon in the Talisman Triathlon (Image credit: Henry Courtier)

“We haven't cut one single corner”

In total, Tinsley cycled over 1,400km, ran over 190km and swam 60km, raising £24,334 (and counting) for the Charity Campaign Against Living Miserably (CALM) which describes itself as a leading movement against suicide.

According to CALM, there are 125 suicides every week in the UK and 75% of those are men. Between 2016 and 2017, two of those men – Andrew Shepherd and Andrew Morris, both Royal Air Force Physical Training Instructors – were friends and former military colleagues of Tinsley, which was the catalyst for him mapping out and completing the ultra triathlon.

“I didn’t choose the event – it chose me. I have never completed a triathlon, and no one has yet to establish a triathlon across Britain’s longest lakes and highest mountains; in all respects, I am an underdog, taking on something that has never been done before,” said Tinsley, adding that he hopes the event will present a narrative surrounding physical and mental health and raise awareness around suicide.

Frankie Tinsley swimming Lake Windermere in the Talisman Triathlon

Frankie Tinsley and his team swimming in Lake Windermere during the Talisman Triathlon (Image credit: Henry Courtier)

During the journey from western Cornwall in England to northern Scotland, Tinsley and his team reported that they encountered pounding rain and howling winds, but their spirits were buoyed by support from friends like multi Olympic gold medalist Victoria Pendleton on the cycle from Carlisle into Scotland which he described as ‘treacherous’ and the Royal Air Force, who showed their support with a flyby during the 18km swim on Lake Windermere. 

Julia Clarke

Julia Clarke is a staff writer for Adventure.com. She is an author, mountain enthusiast and yoga teacher who loves heading uphill on foot, ski, bike and belay. She recently returned to her hometown of Glasgow, Scotland after 20 years living in the USA, 11 of which were spent in the rocky mountains of Vail, Colorado where she owned a boutique yoga studio and explored the west's famous peaks and rivers. She is a champion for enjoying the outdoors sustainably as well as maintaining balance through rest and meditation, which she explores in her book Restorative Yoga for Beginners, a beginner's path to healing with deep relaxation. She enjoys writing about the outdoors, yoga, wellness and travel. In her previous lives, she has also been a radio presenter, music promoter, university teacher and winemaker.