A CRAVEN triathlete has completed a remarkable feat, covering over 1,500 miles and burning more than 200,000 calories during the whole performance.

Sam Boatwright, a maths teacher from Silsden, set himself a challenge to smash three world records in one go by swimming the English Channel, cycling from Land’s End to John O’Groats, and then running back to Land’s End..

The father of one, originally from Malham, who taught at a Bradford school before taking a post at West Craven High School, described his’ Epic Triathlon 2019’ as ‘horrible, brutal and occasionally beautiful’ and said it was by far the hardest thing he had done.

Despite covering the miles, Mr Boatwright had a series of set-backs which made him change the course of his route more than once.

To begin with his swim was cut short after five and a half miles, and that was after several days’ delay because of inclement weather and choppy seas halting the planned send off.

He eventually got away on July 24 but hit a snag.

“I couldn’t continue due to cramp. It hit both legs at the same time and I tried in vain as long as I could.

“The Land’s End to John O’Groats on the bike was on track for a world record but with biblical weather and faults on the bike I couldn’t sustain the pace and effort required. We made it 613 miles, finally ending in Glasgow.

“After seeing what the roads had been like on the way up and to make the challenge more of an adventure we tackled the North Coast 500 - actually 518 miles but at this point, who was counting?”

With the NC500 and the run back to Skipton it meant another 900 miles to go and Mr Boatwright made it back to Skipton to a cheering crowd last Thursday, August 7, two weeks after setting off.

Mr Boatwright said the challenge covered 1,518.5 miles and was equivalent to climbing Everest twice over the course of the journey.

He and his wife, Kerry, kept a blog going on social media to inform followers of his progress.

It plotted the highs and lows of the challenge including punctures, torrential rain, getting ahead of schedule and then falling back because of the conditions.

At one point, as the team neared Gretna, the stormy weather forced them off the road into a service station to catch up on some rest.

Nearing Glasgow on July 28 and the brakes failed.

He reported: “Another set back I’m afraid, front brakes have gone, changed pads, tightened and tinkered but still no front brake. Currently sitting outside Halfords in Glasgow. Need to get moving again but with the hills up here faulty brakes is not great.

“The team and I are in relatively good spirits. The weather has battered me for the last 24 hours at least, on the A6 it was near zero visibility. At least for the first time in a while I have some dry clothes on. Out of all the parts of my body I thought would hurt my hands are by far the worst, completely lost the feeling in my fingers on my left hand. We will go again, we will keep moving. John O’Groats, get the kettle on.”

Shortly afterwards the team was forced to change plans and began the North Coats 500, getting to John O’Groats eventually on July 30 and ready for the run home.

During the journey photographs showed the elements he was up against, as well as his cold and wet hands complete with blisters from the handlebars.

Arriving back to a hero’s welcome outside the offices of his main sponsor, Rural Solutions, in Skipton, he said: “Well there you go. Epic Triathlon 2019 done, horrible, brutal and occasionally beautifully, by far the hardest thing I’ve done.

“I’ve now been round and round, up and down, side to side and almost touched France. For those that believe that Britain has lost its greatness, I can tell you, you are vastly mistaken.

“We live in a quite amazing place. Our greatness comes not just from the beauty of our landscapes but the fantastic and brilliant people that inhabit this tiny island, friendly, passionate, enthusiastic hard working people.

“Any challenge I have ever done I have been overcome by the kindness of strangers. There is not enough room for me to thank all the people I need to thank but a special mention must go to my team, without them I would still be sitting swearing at my bike in Glasgow.

“You got me through the lowest lows and kept spirits high when I needed it.”

I would just like to say a massive thank you to my sponsors, because without them this would not be possible.”

Immediately after his challenge he said: “Thank you to everyone of you for your support and kind words over the last three weeks. From me, sleep is needed. I’ll update again soon once I’ve recovered.”

Mr Boatwright is no stranger to endurance challenges.

In 2012 he was dubbed the ‘epic runner’ as he ran 50 miles every day for 50 days.

Then in 2017, he crossed America in 32 days, consecutively cycling 150 miles one day and running 50 the next covering 3,000 miles.

In 2015 he had to pull out of a record attempt ride from Land’s End to John O’Groats and regarded this recent attempt as his ‘nemesis’.

Despite missing out on smashing three records, Mr Boatwright is hopeful his tremendous efforts will help boost his fundraising for the SSAFA, the Armed Forces charity.

To date his fundraising page has reached £930 and hopes the figure continues to rise.

SSAFA, formerly known as Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen and Families Association, is a UK charity that provides lifelong support to serving men and women and veterans from the British Armed Forces and their families or dependents.

To donate to Mr Boatwright go to: https://bit.ly/2YYU0dd