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Luke Tyburski – The Ultimate Triathlon
A couple of weeks ago Luke got in touch with us to speak about his story… We did not expect this. Read on to hear about this mammoth task and amazing accomplishment.
So Luke, why did you take on this challenge?
It was an end goal of the start of a dream. 4 and half years ago I was a broken down injured footballer suffering from depression and I wasn’t living life. Basically I had another injury, went home, signed up to the Marathon Des Sables which was in 6 months and I hadn’t run more then 10k in one go and told myself I’m going to live life every single day and I’m going to be an adventurer. I need to do something big, I need to do something that’s going to put me on the map so quite literally I stared at a world map with the only adventure on my mind and the route of the Ultimate Triathlon came to me.
It seemed like you really wanted to change something?
I picked up a load of injuries playing football but I wasn’t any good. I was bouncing around lower leagues, contract to contract but wasn’t getting any traction or long term. I went through three surgeries in 11 months. At my worst I couldn’t get out of bed some days. I would pretend to leave the house tell my housemate ‘see you later, I’m going’, close the door and go back to bed for the day. It was pretty dark. One day I was training and I tore a calf muscle again and it was like a light switch and I thought I’m done; I can’t do this any more. I thought this is not living! My life has been pretty dark and I had been having dark thoughts and I thought I need to start living my life.
So, I was on the laptop and my friend told me about this race that was in the desert that he was thinking about doing it in a couple of years time and I looked it up and thought ‘wow, this is an escape from life, I can go do this and not have to face up to my own questions and everyone else as to what I’m going to do now, I’m not a footballer’. On that journey for focusing for the Marathon Des Sables and training for it I realised endurance sports and running at the time was a new lease of life for me. I was energised and excited. I felt like I was doing something for the first time in my life. It was through signing up for The Marathon Des Sables on a whim and actually trying to train to be an ultra marathon runner in only 5 months really got the ball rolling. Once I got out to the desert I just thought ‘wow, this is fantastic this adventure stuff’.
Can you tell us about the route?
It all sounds very Hollywood but it chose me. I wasn’t a swimmer. I hadn’t swam since primary school. I didn’t own a bike and I quite literally was starting to run to train for my Marathon Des Sables challenge and I wasn’t looking for a triathlon route. But I stared at a map had adventure on my mind and the Gibraltar straight kept catching my eye. It just turned up.
What was the hardest day for you?
The Hardest day physically was the end of day 9. The start of day 9 I was running but I had torn my quadricep pretty bad. Three out of the 4 quadriceps were beginning to tare. I was hobbling, I had taped everything up, having treatment and I was in a bad condition. I never thought about quitting. That was never an option. My thought was, how am I going to get to Monaco with not even being able to walk. At this stage I was over 400k from Monaco. I thought I can’t swim, that’s too far and ludicrous, so the only option I had in my head was cycle. But how am I going to cycle? I only have one leg but that quite literally was the option.
I cycled with one leg. So, the toughest part physically were those 75km I had at the end of day 9 where my quad was struggling on my left leg. It was so excruciating because every time I lifted my leg up and my knee bent I was getting pain in my left leg.
Mentally it was a tie between day three where I had swam 25k and cycled 100k and basically had no sleep and then cycled 370k on day 2 and day 3 was another 350k cycle and I blacked out mentally for the last three hours. I lost my crew, I was on a Spanish motorway and I don’t recall cycling. When my crew grabbed me off my bike reeving erratically on a Spanish motorway they put me in the van and I was unconscious.
The start of Day 10 was the other one. So after day 9, the toughest day physically, because it had changed. The Ultimate Triathlon was about swimming, Cycling and running and the last three days I cycled and I had a really tough time that morning when I got on to the bike because I felt like I was a bit of a fraud. I was supposed to be doing all this running at the end and running was my best leg. I was just really frustrated with my body for not giving me the opportunity to fulfill the swim, cycle and run dream. But the ultimate goal was to swim, bike and run 2000km in 12 days from Morocco to Monaco and I achieved that.
How did it feel when you got to the end?
I told my crew on the last day that I want you to pull over just before Monaco as I’m not cycling in to Monaco, I’m running. So I got rid of my crutches, because any time I wasn’t on the bike I was on crutches, because I couldn’t weight bare. So they tried to give me the crutches of which my response was ‘if you give me those crutches I’m going to hit you with it’ and they pulled over about 100m from where the start of Monaco was and I put some running shoes on me and I hobbled in to Monaco and kissed the rock saying Principal de Monaco. And I remember thinking the sun is shinning, my lips are on this rock and you achieved this wild dream that many people didn’t think you would achieve and as soon as you take your lips of this rock Luke and turnaround your life is going to be very different. I didn’t mean that in the sense there was going to be fame and stardom but it was the start line of me becoming an adventurer. My mantra is ‘live your life every day’ and that’s exactly how I felt when I took my lips off the rock.
Tell us about your hat.
The hat basically started off as a joke. My friends said I should wear this when I do my next 100 miler. ‘Ok sure’ I said put it on and it was really super comfortable. So I said I’ll do it! But what I learnt the first time I was out was it makes people smile and when people smile you smile so it’s a bit of an aid for me and if I’m feeling really crappy I feel really good because I’m smiling.
So, what challenge is on your wish list?
Jeeeeeez, I have always thought being an Aussie living in London that I would like to do a challenge that involves me getting from London to Australia via my own power. I thought that would be really cool, I don’t know how long it would take or what direction I would take but it would be a really cool challenge. I could just tell everyone I’m going home….
What would you say to someone thinking about taking on a challenge?
Know your why and have clarity in that because when it gets tough and you want to give up knowing exactly why you are doing what you are doing will help you find that extra ounce of energy or strength to get you to that finish line.
What foods do you fantasies about?
I could be really cheeky here and say the Real Food Sports Nutrition company that sponsor me… which wouldn’t be far from the truth. It varies but there is one common factor. It’s always real food, so I don’t fantasies about cakes, meat pies. I will fantasies about carrots or avocado with cinnamon.
Watch out for Luke’s next challenge – “A secret project, another never been done before global challenge and it’s coming in January 2017.”