Hartlepool dad raises thousands for charity after finishing seven Iron Man events in a week

Matt Turnbull after completing his seventh Iron Man event in seven days pictured with wife Kelly and sons Ben and Dylan.
Matt Turnbull after completing his seventh Iron Man event in seven days pictured with wife Kelly and sons Ben and Dylan.

A superhuman dad pushed himself to the limit for a huge physical challenge in aid of premature and sick newborn babies.

Teacher and triathlon coach Matt Turnbull, 39, managed to complete an amazing seven Iron Man challenges in as many days.

Matt Turnbull.

Matt Turnbull.

The challenge saw him carry out an incredible 784 miles of cycling, 16.8 miles of swimming and 183.4 miles of running, to raise funds for charity Tiny Lives.

The charity, which is based in the neonatal unit at the Royal Victoria Infirmary in Newcastle, helps care for poorly tots and aims to raise around £250,000 a year so it can acquire necessary equipment and care for the babies and their families.

Matt, a dad to Ben, 11, and Dylan, nine, completed triathlons around Hartlepool and Seaton Carew, before finishing the week by competing in the Outlaw Triathlon at The National Water Sports Centre in Nottingham, of which he crossed the finishing line shortly after 10pm on Saturday.

A punishing training regime saw Matt swim, cycle and run up to four times each week for the past year.

“It was utter torture and at the end I was just completely exhausted,” said Matt.

“Things were made a lot worse by an ankle injury while I was doing the challenge and I’ve actually torn a ligament.

“I found out it was due to my running style, so I had to run the last three marathons on my tip toes.

“As well as that I had probably the worst conditions possible, with very hot temperatures in the first few days, then wind and later lashing rain.

“Thankfully I got a lot of the planning and nutrition right and that helped massively.”

Matt had set himself a fundraising target of £10,000 for the challenge and has generated almost £5,600 on his Just Giving page, but thinks the real total is nearer £7,000.

“My two lads were going around the stadium on Saturday and asking for donations which brought in an extra £400 so maybe people felt sorry for me,” said Matt.

“But I’ve also had great support from people in Hartlepool such as Jackson’s Wharf and Hartlepool Borough Council.

“If anyone was cynical beforehand about donating as to whether I’d finish the challenge, I’d urge people that I’ve done it now so please donate.”

To make a donation to Matt’s fundraising go to: www.justgiving.com/fundraising/7ironman7.