Extreme endurance adventurer Sean Conway has completed the world’s longest triathlon, after successfully circumnavigating mainland Britain by bike, on foot and by sea. The British Ultra Triathlon saw Sean cycle 3,200 miles from Lulworth Cove to Scarborough, run more than 800 miles to Brighton and then swim 100 miles back to Lulworth Cove, Dorset.
Sean managed the herculean achievement totally unsupported, carrying all his own kit, including a tent that he slept in throughout the challenge. The 35-year-old adventurer covered nearly 4,200 miles over a gruelling 85 day period. Discovery Channel followed Sean every pedal, step and stroke of the way and will broadcast his story in a three-part documentary, Sean Conway: On The Edge, to be aired on 31st August.
Painting a previously untold story of Britain’s stunning coastline, the series reveals the great lengths Sean went to in order to make history. Over the course of the challenge, Sean cycled from Lulworth Cove to Scarborough, taking on the beautiful yet challenging Cornish, Welsh and Scottish coastlines. At Scarborough Sean swapped his beloved bamboo bike, Matilda, for running shoes and averaged more than a marathon a day, across 33 days, in order to maintain his punishing schedule.
In the early hours of June 8th, Sean jumped off Brighton Pier and started his epic 100 mile swim back to Lulworth Cove, Dorset. The final leg saw him faced with the prospect of dodging ferries, navigating choppy waters and perilous shipping lanes, with The Solent battering Sean’s already exhausted body.
Having battled everything from a re-occurrence of his troublesome knee to treacherous mountain roads and mechanical issues, Sean had to find a spot to sleep each night. Spending his 35th birthday camping alone in a field on Cornwall’s border with Devon, Sean also found himself camping in everything from woodlands, to beaches – and even an advertising trailer.
In Liverpool and then Southend, Sean met with supporters for public appearances, talking about his journey and what it takes to complete an endurance event. Sean’s challenge had a huge social presence, as he tweeted and Instagramed fans with updates and invitations for them to join him along his route. Social media was invaluable to Sean, giving him much needed moral support as well as more practical help from washing his clothes to finding free sports massages.
Finding the required 5,000 calories each day proved to be one of Sean’s toughest challenges, with foraged wild garlic leaves, dog treats and even liquidised roast dinners all making it onto the menu. Most recently, Sean caught mackerel by attaching a fishing line to his homemade raft – Rafty McRaftface.
Sean said: “This has been, without doubt, the hardest thing that I have ever done. My body feels broken and I’ve lost all my body fat as a result, but it has all been worth it. The support from the public has been incredible and has kept me going. I can’t thank you all enough.
“People sometimes underestimate how amazing Britain really is, and let me tell you, having circumnavigated it, this really is a beautiful island that we live on.”
Sean’s progress was tracked, in real time, by more than 30,000 people on the discoveryuk.com website via GPS technology with the help of Garmin. Members of the public were able to pin-point his exact location throughout the challenge, with Sean’s updates populating the map. Throughout his journey, Sean used his camera phone to post video blogs and pictures to fans online, with more than 7,000 posts reaching over four million people on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook since 14th March.
Born and raised in Harare, Zimbabwe, Sean had an adventurous upbringing in the Mana Pools National Park. He came to the UK in 2002 with just £100 to his name and started working in Cambridge cutting 12,000 cabbages a day whilst pursuing a career in photography. Feeling dissatisfied with the direction his life was taking, Sean decided to sell his share of his company to his business partner – earning him the grand total of £1 – to pursue his dream and broaden his horizons.
For further details go to www.discoveryuk.com and visit the dedicated Sean Conway hub.
Sean Conway: On The Edge will air exclusively on Discovery Channel, 31st August
Pictures – Discovery Communications