A British Army veteran has completed a gruelling 10-day challenge, finishing his sixth Ironman triathlon with a view of the capital in the London Eye.
Having started the challenge in his hometown of Fleet in Hampshire, Darren Hardy has battled several injuries to raise money for forces charity Help for Heroes.
Speaking to Forces News in one of the London Eye’s pods, Mr Hardy said he was happy to be heading into his final day in better conditions.
"A couple of the days on the bike I’ve just been drenched from the get-go and feet not warming up from the water, so I’ve spent a good proportion of the day with ice-cold feet," he said.
Hypothermia, exhaustion, acute tendonitis, and stress fractures have hindered the veteran’s progress from the start, forcing him to push a target of 10 triathlons down to six in 10 days.
Cycling with heavy strapping to his legs after a morning swim in the Serpentine, Mr Hardy looked ahead to a final run, despite barely being able to walk.
"I’m finishing today, so I’ve just got to push through, fight through and keep attacking," he said.
Mr Hardy's 15-year career with the British Army was brought to an end after he suffered from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
Reaching his lowest point in 2018, he received support from Help for Heroes and decided now was a good time to give back to the organisation.
"Giving back to the charity now is a bit of a good buzz for me, it's one of the reasons why I do it, I'm helping other veterans," he said.
“It’s that and it’s my own sort of therapy, I like to do physical training stuff and push my body to its limits and beyond.”
This is one of multiple fundraising challenges the former soldier is taking on, having already raised more than £12,000 for Help for Heroes.
The veteran hopes his efforts will help others to "combat" PTSD, and that fighting his mental health battle has helped bring him and his family to a “better place”.
After finishing his final triathlon, Mr Hardy thanked followers on Facebook – adding that he’d only learnt to swim in recent weeks and had only ridden a bike "a handful of times".
Having covered 1,400 kilometres in 10 days, he said resilience rather than skill had pulled him over his unique finish line at the top of England’s capital.
“To come and be able to do this with no coaching, no training, just my own sort of mindset and do that distance has just been fantastic,” he added, thanking his supporters and looking ahead to his next challenge “in five weeks' time”.
You can find Mr Hardy's fundraising page, here.