Veteran Completes First Of Two Gruelling Challenges For Charity

The first challenge saw Darren Hardy paddle, cycle and run 912km in the space of just a week.

A former British Army captain has completed the first of two challenges which he hopes will become world-firsts.

Darren Hardy, from Wiltshire, crossed the finishing line of his first challenge in Tidworth, Wiltshire - running a marathon after a 770km cycle from Fort William to Aldershot and a 100km paddleboard along the Caledonian canal.

The challenge totalled 912km of paddling, cycling and running in the space of just a week.

Mr Hardy’s wife Gemma said she was not shocked when her husband shared his plans: "I wasn’t really that surprised to be honest, because lots of the things he comes up with are absolutely ridiculous.

"To a normal person, you think ‘Why would you choose that challenge; you don’t have a paddleboard, you don’t have a bike. Yes, you’ve got some trainers for the running part’. But he decided to do that and source everything afterwards."

Mr Hardy is doing the challenge in aid of military charity Help For Heroes who helped him with his mental health.

He said: "I suffered really bad in 2018, still do, with PTSD [post-traumatic stress disorder], but that was my lowest point and I changed my life around.

“I thought I’m going to do something and give back to the charity that helped me because probably without Help For Heroes, to be honest I wouldn’t be here, in essence. Their Hidden Wounds Team squared me right away.

Darren Hardy running during first of two gruelling charity challenges with his running partner 240820 CREDIT BFBS
Mr Hardy finished the first challenge by running a marathon.

"So I thought, lets pick something that's not been done before and let’s cover 900 plus [kilometres] and see what happens."

Moments after Mr Hardy reached the finishing line of the first challenge, he told Forces News his plan for the second challenge in October.

"I’m doing 10 Ironman Triathlon distances in 10 days in 10 locations, which has never been done before in Europe and location-wise. If I complete it, I’ll be the 101st person in the world to do it," he said.

"The final one is being done inside the London Eye, so they’re putting a treadmill and a bike in there for me."

If he completes the challenge, it is thought he will become the first injured war veteran to complete 10 Ironmans over 10 days in 10 locations and the first person to complete an Ironman in the London Eye (excluding the swim).

It is hoped he will also be the first person to complete the distances for 10 days in a row over numerous locations across the UK. 

John Carpenter from Help for Heroes said fundraisers like Mr Hardy's are "really important” for the charity.

"The public see how inspirational these guys [are] - what they’ve been through, that they then come out and push themselves to this sort of limit, to help us," he said.

"It really, really helps us."

Mr Hardy will get about six weeks rest and recovery, plus training time, before he begins the next part of his epic challenge.