THERE is an endurance event so immense that it covers more than 300 miles and three days, so tough that only 35 people are allowed to enter each year, and so insane that less than 700 have ever completed it... and now one of those is from Ellesmere.
Regular readers of the Advertizer will have followed Nick Thomas's journey from running, to triathlon, to Iron Man, taking him from complete novice to one of Great Britain's world championship elite, but even for an experienced endurance athlete like Nick the Ultraman was an unfathomable leap into the unknown that took 12 months to prepare for, as the 40-year-old explains: "Just over six years ago I undertook my first Ironman on the island of Lanzarote and I have returned every year completing 17 Ironman, two Hawaii World Champs and two long distance races for GB last year, but for me the races had begun to lose that edge and I was on the lookout for a new challenge for my 40th year.
"In 2010 a good friend of mine, Jon Bowie, found a new race being launched to the UK. The race was called Ultraman and was a long distance event held over three days which had never before been brought to these shores, and to me it seemed just the challenge I had been looking for."
The event may have been what Nick was looking for, but Ultraman with its 300 miles of swimming, biking and running over three days, culminating in a double marathon in the mountains of Snowdonia, is so far beyond the norm, that entrants from around the world must apply for one of just 35 places in the race, and each competitor must provide his own backup and support team.
"I thought about it for a few days then sent in my sporting CV to race director to see if my entry application would be accepted. Within a matter of days I was in and then the reality hit home, I now had 12 months to train for my ultimate challenge."
Read more about Nick's participation in the event in this week's Advertizer.