Help for Heroes is a vitally important charity which helps wounded veterans recover and get on with their lives. They provide physical, psychological, financial and welfare support to veterans and their families for as long as they need it. They are also almost totally reliant on donations from the public and their partners, so funds raised by people like Darren are crucial in enabling them to continue their work.
We caught up with Darren after the completion of his 10x10x10 challenge to ask him about the experience.
Why did you choose to undertake such a challenge?
This year I have completed several extreme endurance events including a self-sufficient race in the Yukon Arctic and a 933km paddleboard, bike and run. This time around I thought I would do something that others can relate to. Prior to this, I had never done a triathlon, apart from an IM distance triathlon a few weeks before as a training session. I also wanted to push my mind and body to breaking point, then go beyond.
How was it swimming in such cold temperatures?
This wasn’t too bad to be honest, even though I went down with hypothermia. This was mainly due to failing to consume the calories needed to create heat and burn as energy. Also, when I started training 10 weeks before I was 96kg, when I finished, I was 87kg. As a result, the wetsuit became too big and was likely not doing its job as it should have been, meaning I had to use more energy through the water. I am planning for a colder swim next year!
What was the most useful Zone3 product?
How did you choose your locations?
I completed my triathlons in Fleet, Army Training Regiment Pirbright, Gibraltar Barracks Camberley, Brompton Barracks Chatham, 23 Para Engineer Regiment Woodbridge, The Shard, Hyde Park, Richmond Park, Regents Park and the London Eye.
No triathlon challenge like this has ever been done before in the UK; I wanted to make it unique to my life and experiences. The military establishments were important as they were significant places from my military career. The other areas were iconic locations in London, so I thought that would be a nice touch.
What was the most challenging part mentally and physically?
Trying to accommodate Covid changes to health and safety was my biggest issue, closely followed by trying to consume all the calories I needed. I was aiming to consume between six and seven thousand calories a day but only managed between three to four thousand. Lastly, I had to contend with several injuries I sustained including Achilles tendinitis on my left foot. This caused me to put more pressure on my right leg, which then caused my right knee to swell up.
Would you consider doing another challenge again? If yes, what would that be?
This is already being planned, both in the UK and globally. Before the end of the year, I am doing a 10km run, 150km bike, 30km swim in the altitude centre in London at 12,000 ft. This will see my year out.
So far Darren has raised £12,500 on top of already raising £8,000 for Great Ormand Street Hospital earlier this year. You can donate to is campaign: https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/darren-hardy7, and find out more about him on his Instagram.