He was warned just how tough a challenge it would be. Some even called him crazy.
But it didn’t stop Ewen Lewis from setting his sights on an incredible and daunting test of endurance.
Last year, the former Amble pupil drew up the ambitious goal of completing three UK Ironman-branded events in 2014.
This brutal type of triathlon consists of a 2.4-mile swim, 112-mile cycle and a 26.2-mile run.
Then there’s an Ironman 70.3, a so-called ‘shorter’ course, which is made up of the same three disciplines, but each halved in distance.
Ironman events are widely considered to be one of the most difficult one-day sporting events in the world.
Just one of these is enough to make many a man shudder. But to take on three Ironman-type events in a matter of months is beyond challenging.
And not only did super-fit Ewen take them on, he completed them.
What makes his story all the more inspiring is that he reached this stage after years of hard work, which started in 2010 as an attempt to lose weight. After finishing the third event – IM Wales, Tenby – last month, the Wiltshire father admitted he was overwhelmed.
On his online blog, he wrote: “I don’t like to do things easy so I decided to do the three UK Ironman-branded events and it has been an amazing experience.”
Ewen certainly picked his courses, too.
The first in his long-distance hat-trick was the Ironman 70.3 Wimbleball, in June, which he described as the hardest half-distance event around.
The former Coquet High School pupil completed the course in six hours, 41 minutes and 28 seconds.
Next up was a full distance Ironman – in Bolton – in July. He crossed the finish line in 14hr 54min 27 sec.
To complete the set, Ewen tackled the full Ironman in Tenby, despite having an issue with a tendon.
After crossing the finish-line at the ‘brutal’ event in 15hr 24min 45sec, Ewen said: “I’m now a three times Ironman but the one in Wales felt hard-earned.
“I went into the event knowing that running wasn’t going to be good and given the toughness of the course I was over the moon with my marathon time (5hr 33min 16sec).
“The finish felt so different to the others. I guess that it was the culmination of my 2014 challenge, but also it was special because I had so many people who supported me, from friends and family, through to the Pirates and the Slinn Allstars Run Club.”
Super-fit Ewen achieved the incredible feat on the back of a weight-loss and fitness regime, which has spanned a number of years.
It was certainly a far cry from where he was in 2010.
In his blog, he admits he had reached ‘rock bottom’. He wasn’t just overweight, but he was struggling with stairs, couldn’t muster the energy to get up each day and was taking three sets of tablets for high blood pressure.
He started swimming and then, in the August of that year, he began walking/running a 3k loop.
In October 2010, he entered a five-mile race. And that’s where things changed,
He said: “I honestly didn’t think I would finish. I had never ran more than three miles, but I finished, even at 18 stone, and felt an overwhelming sense of personal satisfaction.” Over the next couple of years, he lost more weight and upped his distance, from 10ks to half-marathons, including the Great North Run, marathons and then an Ironman in 2013.
Now he can reflect on his perfect hat-trick in 2014.
Reflecting on what he has achieved, Ewen said: “My journey is still on-going. I love helping people embrace sport and fitness so if I can help anyone please don’t hesitate to contact me.”
Visit ewenlewis.word press.com to see Ewen’s blog.