Digital Editor Katherine Weir caught up with endurance adventurer Sean Conway, as he ramps up training to complete his Great Britain triathlon…
Aiming to prove that he could break a world record, Sean decided to attempt to become the first person in history to swim the length of Great Britain. Battling the weather, currents and a remarkably large amount of jellyfish, Sean and his legendary beard wrote history on November 11th 2013 after 135 days at sea. This month, his first novel, Hell and High Water was released, chronicling the ups and down of this epic adventure.
Not only had Sean broken a world record, but he had also completed the second leg of his Great Britain triathlon, having cycled from Land’s End to John O’Groats in 2008. Finishing off his trio of adventures, Sean is set to run the length of Britain in June covering nearly 1000 miles – the equivalent of 38 marathons. He attempted this in 2014 but had to abandon this leg due to a knee injury. He is now back and ready to give it another go!
Discovery Channel will follow Sean’s challenge every step of the way, charting the highs and lows of his run south in an exclusive documentary to be broadcast on the channel early this summer. You can also send your messages of support to Sean using the hashtag #runwithsean.
How is your training going?
Going well so far. Slow and steady. Just building the mileage with a weighted backpack.
Have you fully recovered from your knee injury last year?
Yes, knee is fine. Had no lasting injury so feeling strong.
Have you had to change your diet in preparation for the June challenge?
Slightly. I operate better on a high fat diet so I’ve cut the main carbs and increased butter, chorizo etc in my diet. Natural fats are gooood.
Why did you choose the British Heart Foundation as your charity for the run?
It’s a Great British run so I wanted to help British people realise the benefits of doing exercise. 30 minutes a day is all it takes to reduce heart risk.
Which of the three disciplines in triathlon would you say is your strongest?
Cycling is still my strongest. I’m an OK swimmer but running is by far my weakest discipline.
As you have travelled the entirety of Britain, which area would you say is your favourite?
That’s a hard question. Swimming up Cornwall was amazing. Cycling through the Lake District breathtaking and I think running through The Highlands will be epic. I can’t wait.
Have you competed in anything as scary as cheese rolling? It looks brutal!
Nothing even close. That was the most exhilarating and scary 23 seconds of my life.
How did you come up with the Sean Conway Adventure Scholarship programme?
I’m very fortunate to make a living from what I love – being adventurous. Not everyone has the chance to go off on an adventure. The Sean Conway Adventure Scholarship is my way of giving back and hopefully making people realise their potential.
What’s the best piece of advice you’ve been given?
Records get broken and today’s news is tomorrow’s trash, make sure you take the time to enjoy the adventure, take photos and smell the roses, no matter how hard you’re finding it.
How did you find writing Hell and High Water?
I love writing. I don’t often sit down and writing forces me to do that and thus re-living the adventure. It’s very therapeutic.
After you’ve completed your GB triathlon, what’s next?
It’s top secret but it’s in India. Watch this space…
WORDS: Katherine Weir
Hell and High Water by Sean Conway is published by Ebury Press priced £10.99. Read more about Sean’s first novel in our books section.