Belfast Telegraph

Newry fitness fan plans 32 triathlons around Ireland

IronDad challenge: Declan Loy
IronDad challenge: Declan Loy

By Christopher Leebody

A Newry man is attempting to complete 32 triathlons in 32 days in Ireland's 32 counties.

Declan Loy (46), who lives in Castlebellingham, Co Louth, is already a Guinness World Record holder after completing 30 Half Ironman triathlons around the world last year.

Each consisted of a 1.2-mile (1.9 km) swim, a 56-mile (90 km) bike ride, and a 13.1-mile (21.1km) run.

His sights are now set on a new feat, starting on June 27 in Newry, in which he will swim, cycle and run over 3,500km across the island of Ireland, to raise awareness of his not-for-profit organisation, Super You.

The idea for the 'IronDad' challenge came while he was competing around the world.

He said: "This idea came to me of going around the whole island of Ireland getting people out getting into exercise, bringing their kids out. I was only a beginner and I broke the world record. What I am encouraging people is that you can do triathlon. Exercise is so important.

"You always feel better when you exercise. I was 16-and-a-half stone and one Christmas I just said I needed to change. Small steps and the weight came off me. When you are out exercising you get endorphins, a release. Some of my clearest thinking will come when I'm on a bike or run".

Declan, who runs a consultancy and lifestyle business, competed in his first triathlon in 2017.

He said: "The physical challenge is not the main challenge. The biggest part is the logistics. Twenty four triathlon clubs around Ireland have come forward to help. It's never been done before. I can't wait."

Each day will mean a 1km swim, 100km cycle and a 10km run. The main motivation is to raise money and awareness for Super You, an Ireland wide organisation that seeks to motivate and inspire young people.

Declan said: "Our goal is to launch a six-week empowerment programme to 32 schools with around 5,000 children."

The challenge is due to finish on July 28 in Dundalk, and Declan and the team are encouraging people to come out and greet them at the end.

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