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 and the author of the book Restorative Yoga for Beginners. She loves to explore mountains on foot, bike, skis and belay and then recover on the the yoga mat. Julia graduated with a degree in journalism in 2004 and spent eight years working as a radio presenter in Kansas City, Vermont, Boston and New York City before discovering the joys of the Rocky Mountains. She then detoured west to Colorado and enjoyed 11 years teaching yoga in Vail before returning to her hometown of Glasgow, Scotland in 2020 to focus on family and writing.