Star of Dirty Sanchez Matthew Pritchard speaks with Marcus Hughes about attempting to complete 30 half Ironman triathlons in 30 days for charity.
For his latest challenge, Matt Pritchard will be cycling 56 miles, running 13.1 miles and swimming 1.2 miles every day for a month. I went and met Pritchard during a training session at Cardiff International Pool a week prior to the start of his mammoth task.
While sitting dutifully on the edge of the pool having press photographs taken before a training session, Pritchard chatted about the cycling accident he had a few weeks back whilst training for the challenge.
“I took four days out to recover from the concussion, but I’ve been pretty much on track since. I didn’t half go flying, though,” he told me with a wry smile.
Pritchard was riding alongside the A48 when he was knocked off his bike by a car travelling “at speed”, resulting in a fractured coccyx and a concussion, so don’t let his nonchalance fool you. This was a setback that would put less determined people off. But, as he says, it’s in his character to see things through.
“Whatever I’ve done I’ve always taken it to the limit, whether it’s skateboarding, partying, and now this. I know it sounds cheesy, but pain is temporary. It will eventually go; you’ve just got to tell yourself that.”
Pritchard got the idea for his latest challenge when a friend told him about James ‘Iron Cowboy’ Lawrence, who last year managed to complete 50 full Ironman triathlons in 50 days across 50 US states. “I said, ‘you what?’ I thought he was winding me up. And then he showed me and there he was – I couldn’t believe it.”
By this point Pritchard had already completed two full Ironman triathlons, run from John O’Groats to Land’s End in 30 days and completed a number of marathons across the country, to name just a few of his endurance achievements. After completing the Double Brutal in Snowdonia in September, he was on the hunt for a new challenge.
“When I run I get some of my best ideas – some people would disagree with me – and I thought, ‘I wonder if I could do 30 half Ironmen in 30 days in South Wales?’ So I mentioned it to my girlfriend at the time, and I think she said the usual ‘Don’t be so stupid’. But if I can picture myself at the finish line then that’s pretty much a good idea to me,” he laughs.
You get the sense part of the enjoyment for Pritchard is doing things he’s told he shouldn’t. “The more people who say ‘no’ the more I, in a good way, want to prove them wrong.”
Since last January, Pritchard has been training with Mark Whittle of WhittleFit. This, alongside a newly adopted vegan diet, has provided a good base for his training.
“Before I had a coach, I’d swim until I couldn’t swim anymore; I’d run until my legs were coming off and I’d cycle till I got a flat tyre. But that’s not the right way to train and it was really just screwing me over. I was really tired because I wasn’t doing it properly. Then as soon as I joined WhittleFit I got stronger, got fitter, got faster and when I told him I wanted to do this he was right behind me 100%.”
“For me, there are two challenges. There’s actually trying to complete the 30 half Ironmen, and the other is trying raise the £100,000 for charity. I’m raising money for Bigmoose, Friends of Greenhill, Shelter, Tŷ Hafan and Guide Dogs For The Blind.”
Pritchard will be starting his first half Ironman on Tue 1 Mar and will be completing one every day around Wales until his birthday on Wed 30 Mar. Donations can be made on his website to get him closer to his £100,000 goal.