When we heard that a Singapore-based man was aiming to break the world record for the longest triathlon, we had to find out more. We caught up with ADRIAN BENNETT between runs to see how his attempt was progressing.
Adrian, tell us about this amazing challenge you’ve taken on
I’m attempting the world record for the longest triathlon. The current record stands at 6,952km; I’m going for 7,500km. I have to start with 1,420km of continuous running, followed by 5,800km of cycling continuously and ending with 225km of swimming continuously.
What inspired you to attempt the longest triathlon?
I like to discover our human limits, and I want to answer one simple question: “How far can I push myself?”
I’m inspired by athletes like Ross Edgley who swam around England, Matthew Webb who was the first man to swim the English Channel, and even my uncle Adrian Crane who climbed the highest peak in America in every state in 101 days.
I have two sons, and being a role model to them is of course high on my priority list. I really want to show people how outdoor pursuits can enrich lives. I truly believe as humans we have an in-built need to push boundaries and explore limits.
Walk us through how you trained for this triathlon challenge?
This isn’t a simple question, but I’ll give you a brief history. I’m an adventurer who has climbed several massive mountains worldwide. I have always thrived on long miles, no sleep, very little food and so on. When I had to juggle family and career, I kerbed my adventures to marathons and triathlons.
Then I completed a 100km race in the deserts of Egypt in 10 hours – that’s at a pace of six minutes per kilometre. Next, I trained and completed an Ironman, which was fun, though it never really pushed me as I expected.
Do you think most people can take on such massive physical challenges?
I believe we all have it in us to take on physical challenges. If we put the body through stress, it will adapt.
How have your supporters and sponsors supported you?
My family have been great. Kim, my wife, has been amazing. The kids don’t get it entirely, but having my family willing to go through a few hardships so I can challenge myself and hopefully inspire my children, that’s pretty special.
I also have the backing of a great triathlon club called Tribal Triathlon. In the beginning, there were no real sponsors but that’s picking up now. Tiwani Spirulina helps with proteins; Red Dot running company has been kind to give me Tailwind rehydrates; and Red Bull is amazing at promoting the adventure.
How does someone mentally prepare for a long triathlon?
You don’t; it’s the same as writing a book or building a house – the challenges you will face are unknown. The whole project is too big to see. You have to just start and do one challenge at a time, remaining stoic and resilient.
Do you have days when you just “don’t feel like it”?
Ha! Yes all the time. But the key is to just start; don’t think, just start. Every day, I get painful blisters and my muscles get cold, hot and tired. I just put on my kit as fast as possible and get moving.
Then there are days where it’s great and you feel amazing and all is easy. But on the really tough days, you literally just place one foot in front of the other, one stroke after the other. Sounds terrible, but to be honest I rarely finish a run, swim or bike and think, “That was a disaster, I should have stayed in bed.” If I miss a session, it plagues me more!
When you’re running/cycling/swimming, what’s going on in your mind?
I love the clarity that comes with it – I can think up so much. I often have to remind myself to write stuff down when I get home. I’ve started to record a couple of different book ideas on this particular challenge.
I always think positively on purpose and sometimes force myself to smile, even when every ounce of me is saying “just stop, it’s too painful”. We could all do with widening our comfort zones.
Do you listen to music or something else while running or cycling?
Yes, I love music and am constantly downloading new tunes. I also love audio books and can get lost in them – particularly sport psychology books.
How do you motivate yourself?
Having a positive mental attitude is the main thing. I often think how lucky I am. My family and friends are amazing, and I never want to let them down. I have a mantra I created to keep me going too: “Action causes action”. I’m sure my actions will inspire others to lace up those sneakers again and again.
What are you eating to keep your strength and energy up?
Everything and anything! I use in excess of 8,000 calories a day. I’m basically a human dustbin: I literally can and will devour anything I can find. I use spirulina as well; it’s amazing. Honestly, if I could give one piece of advice here, it would be to try spirulina. I try to eat non-processed nutrient-rich foods whenever possible.
How do you recover in time for the next session?
Sleep and eat; that’s all! At the moment, I’ll run from 7.30am to 11.30am, then eat as much as possible and sleep for two to three hours. Then I’ll pick up the kids from Nexus International school, eat as much as possible again, say goodnight to the kids and start running, going from 7.30pm till midnight. Then I come home and fall asleep.
What would you say to anyone thinking of taking on a physical challenge?
If you’re thinking to yourself, “I wish I could do something big like this,” then stop thinking and get going. People wait for the perfect storm to push themselves, but in reality, you just have to go for it now! Action causes action.
Follow Adrian Bennett’s updates at fb.com/gwrlongesttriathlon and Instagram @gwrlongesttriathlon.
This article first appeared in the January 2021 edition of Expat Living. You can purchase the latest issue or subscribe, so you never miss a copy!