The Hartlepool 14-year-old who is doing four triathlons in a day to support children in Ukraine

A Hartlepool schoolboy is hoping to create history when he tackles four gruelling challenges in one day to help children in war-torn Ukraine.

Sunday, 3rd April 2022, 9:23 am

Ben Turnbull, 14, is doing a 750 metre swim, 20 kilometre bike ride and five kilometre run.

But he is not just doing it once. He is doing it four times in one day with one triathlon in each of the four home nation countries.

He is starting at 4.30am on Saturday, April 23 in Belfast.

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Proud dad Matt Turnbull with his son Ben.

Once he has finished the Northern Irish leg, he will catch the ferry to Stranraer at 7.30am to do the same challenge in Scotland.

Then he moves on to Carlisle for the English leg before finishing the gruelling mission in Buckley, North Wales, hopefully at around 10pm. Each challenge is likely to take him 90 to 105 minutes.

In among all the running, cycling and swimming, he faces hours of travelling between each location.

Ben said: “It is exciting to think no one has ever done this before and I will be the first. It means a lot to me that children in Ukraine will be saved by people donations and I will remember this when it gets really hard and I'm in pain but I will not quit because finishing this challenge means people's lives will be saved.”

Ben Turnbull who is tackling four huge challenges in one day to support two charities, including one to help children in Ukraine.

Ben’s older brother Dylan was due to take part in the challenge when it was originally planned before 2020 but the pandemic halted the plans and now Dylan has to focus on his GCSE studies.

Ben will be raising money for the British Ukraine Aid and also for another cause close to his heart, the Dogs Trust after his beloved pet dog Pepper passed away in late 2017.

Ben, who is a student at Manor Academy, will be joined all the way by his proud dad, Matt Turnbull, who said that the challenge was “amazing” and would be a world record if Ben completes it.

Matt, a performing arts teacher, said: “Ben has always been given the space to dream big and pursue his sporting goals.”

Putting in the practice on the exercise bike.

Matt was a record breaker himself when he completed seven iron distance triathlons in seven days in 2017, raising £10,000 for the Tiny Lives baby charity. He was the first English man to do the challenge on British soil and he won the Role Model category at the Best of Hartlepool Awards.

He added: “Food, nutrition and hydration have all got to be very precise to get Ben through this day of torture; too little and he will run out of energy and fatigue, too much and he could have gastric issues and sickness.

“Kit too has to be perfect; clothing rubbing, blisters, sores, discomfort, flat tyres, mechanical failures all need to be considered and prepared for.....not least the 2 to 3 hour journeys between countries!”

To sponsor the event and help with the cost, contact Matt directly on 07773696687.

Ben gets in some practice before his charity challenge.

He said: “The personal costs to complete this challenge are mounting due to the current climate; travel expensive, kit, food and ferry crossing charges to name a few.

"We would also like lots of local cyclists, runners and triathletes to come and ride and run with Ben on the day at each venue.”

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Ben and his dad Matt Turnbull.

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The family's beloved dog Pepper.