The teenage Hartlepool hero who set a world record and helped the people of Ukraine as well

A Hartlepool teenager has set a world record and given a boost to children in war-torn Ukraine.

Saturday, 30th April 2022, 4:45 am

Ben Turnbull, 14, has completed the remarkable challenge of doing a 750 metre swim, 20 kilometre bike ride and five kilometre run and not just once.

Ben completed it all in 17 hours, 44 minutes and 48 seconds – even though he sprained his ankle on his very first run in Belfast.

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Ben and dad Matt Turnbull during the huge challenge.

Ultra proud dad Matt Turnbull said: “He was the first person on earth to even attempt this crazy challenge. It was touch and go after Ben strained his ankle on a sharp descent in the first triathlon in Belfast.

"But he was determined to battle through the pain and complete all four, no matter what it took to ensure he raised the funds for his chosen charities.”

Ben was raising money for the Dogs Trust and the British Ukrainian Aid Foundation.

Matt said: “So far he has raised over £2,000 and donations keep coming in.”

Father and son pictured during the challenge.

His challenge started at 4.30am on Saturday in Belfast.

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

Then he moved on to Carlisle for the English leg before finishing the gruelling mission in Buckley, North Wales.

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

Plenty of support for Ben as he tackles four triathlons in a day.

The challenge was made tougher by the British weather.

Matt said: “The temperatures were way hotter than expected and sapped his strength towards the end of the third leg in Carlisle and each bike route had a strong head wind to contend with.

"It was demoralising but he just put his head down and pushed on.”

Ben previously told the Hartlepool Mail that it was “exciting to think no one has ever done this before and I will be the first”.

The end of the gruelling challenge but it was all worthwhile for Ben Turnbull.

"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, who is a student at Manor Academy, was joined all the way by his dad as well as other supporters.

But today, his focus was on his son’s challenge and said it was ‘an unbelievably amazing achievement. There were some tough moments when his ankle went in the first run at about 5am in Belfast. That was quite scary.”

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Ben celebrates with family and friends at the end of the challenge.