Melton triathlete takes on world's longest single day event for charity

A triathlete from Melton has told how he took on an ultra-distance event to help raise money for a mental health charity.
Mark Bone crosses the finish line in Chichester.Mark Bone crosses the finish line in Chichester.
Mark Bone crosses the finish line in Chichester.

Mark Bone, 60, has completed several ironman triathlons in the past including the 2021 Midnight Man, a through the night, full iron distance race.

This year he decided to attempt what is officially the world’s longest single day triathlon, the 255 Triathlon, comprising of a 5k open water swim, 200km bike ride and a 50km run.

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Mark said: “I turned 60 in April and thought it would be a fitting way to celebrate the milestone, so signed up and immediately began to get that nervous feeling of the challenge that lay ahead. Fear is a great motivator and these ultra-distance events can indeed be life threatening if not treated seriously.

“Training went well and I entered several ultra marathon races in the build-up to keep myself in the game.”

The event took place in Chichester, with Bone camping at the venue the night before.

He said of the race: “The swim went without any real dramas apart from the odd elbow and accidental kicks but it was a tough challenge because of the level of concentration needed to swim for over two hours in open water, and I ended up swimming 5.38k instead of 5k due to the choppy water conditions which hampered my sighting.

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“Once I'd got my composure and balance sorted after having been horizontal for a long time during the swim, I began to push hard on the bike but at around 180k my legs started to cramp and the final 20k was tough, but all in all it was a decent ride.

“Transition to the run went well and I started to think of the distance I was going to have to cover to complete the race and began breaking it down into smaller sections. This helps me focus on different points and keeps your mind off the slog of running 32 miles. By doing this I managed a to maintain a very steady pace and complete the 51.05 km in 6:47:21.”

Bone ultimately finished in 16hrs, 48mins and 29 seconds, first in his age group and tenth overall.

Just two weeks before the race, a lifelong friend and fellow triathlete took his own life, something that was a massive shock to Bone. With that in mind, he has created a fundraising page for CALM, a leading movement against male suicide. You can donate at www.justgiving.com/Mark-bone3.

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