Wigan-based Martyn Clarke will be taking on ‘Triathlon Impossible’ from Saturday 24 June, in which he aims to complete a 7km swim, 750-mile cycle ride and 92km run, all in aid of Motor Neurone Disease charities.
The event will raise much-needed funds for the Motor Neurone Disease Association, Leeds Hospitals Charity, My Name’5 Doddie Foundation and the Darby Rimmer Foundation.
The 49-year-old will travel across five countries as he plans to swim, bike and run over 750 miles from Germany to Manchester in seven days.
The challenge will see Martyn kick off with a 7km swim in Frankfurt before embarking on a 750-mile cycle ride taking him through Germany, the Netherlands, Belgium and France, before riding from the south of England all the way up to Leeds Rhinos’ Headingley Stadium.
To complete the feat, Martyn will then run 92km from Headingley to Leigh Sports Village, home of Super League Rugby team Leigh Leopards.
He said: “It’s not your normal challenge! It’s a triple header of endurance events. Firstly, I’ve done the London Marathon and next up I’ve got the Leeds Marathon before the #TriathlonImpossible challenge across Europe rounding it all off in June.
“The theme of all my challenges has been the number seven because of the connection to Rob Burrow, so Triathlon Impossible is seven days and over 750 miles.
“The hard part was telling my wife and family that I was thinking about doing a triathlon across Europe because it’s really going to push me to my limits.”
Rob Burrow MBE is a former Leeds Rhinos player who was sadly diagnosed with Motor Neurone Disease in 2019.
Rob is the reason behind Martyn’s previous and upcoming challenges for the way he’s inspired others since his diagnosis.
It will be Martyn’s biggest challenge yet, but he is well prepared having completed seven middle-distance triathlons in seven days in December 2021, where he raised over £40,000 for the MND Association.
Martyn continued: “Seeing Rob’s documentary on TV struck a chord with me because I’m a former rugby league amateur coach and my son plays the same position as Rob.
“Then, when Kevin Sinfield did his endurance marathons, it sparked something inside me. I thought I want to help but what could I do? I like endurance sports, I like triathlon, I’m not particularly the best or fastest at it, but when I’m digging into the ground, I take quite a bit of putting down to make me stop. I’ll just keep going.
“’In a world full of adversity, we must still dare to dream’ is a quote from Rob and it’s such a good quote to back this project because for a lot of people it would probably be a dream.
“We’re doing it for four really important causes. Leeds Hospital Charity need to raise £5 million to build what will be the first-ever bespoke MND centre to treat patients and also support their families. There’s nowhere like that at the moment.
“For this challenge, we’re bringing together the sporting community. Rugby league is at the heart of it all with Rob, but we’ve got the football community who are impacted by this too, so we have combined the football community through The Darby Rimmer Foundation and the rugby union community through the My Name’5 Doddie Foundation, and it’s all wrapped together by the MND Association.”
Martyn completed his first triathlon event back in 2001 at Helsby Sprint Triathlon and has gone on to race at multiple events over the sprint, standard and middle distance, as well as completing marathons around the world.
He recently completed the London Marathon in 4 hours 20 minutes and will be joining Ian Flatt at the upcoming Leeds Marathon.
Martyn added: “Everyone knows for triathlon or an IRONMAN you need time on your feet. This is no different but I’ve got to train a lot longer. You’d normally give yourself 12 to 16 weeks to train for a high-level endurance event.
“I’ve been training since Christmas and just trying to build a base fitness level up, being really monitored quite strictly by Carnegie School of Sport. There’s also a company called A1 Performance Studio and Adam Lamb has been training me every week since the turn of the year. We’re on the weights, we’re on the assault bike, we’re doing everything we can to be physically ready.
“You can’t really fully train to cross 750 miles in seven days, but you can replicate run, bike, run – run, bike, run, and then as soon as we see some sunlight I will jump in the open water and start getting those miles in the lake.”
To find out more about Martyn’s challenge please visit his donation page here.
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