A determined fundraiser who lost 14 stone has set himself the ultimate goal - to take on a triathlon the length of Britain.
Matt Smith-Lilley, from Rugby, has been raising money for Marie Curie and Cancer Research UK through a series of intense challenges.
So far the 27-year-old has a 10k mud run, the Yorkshire Three Peaks Challenge, cycling Coast to Coast from St Bees in Cumbria to Whitley Bay in Northumbria, and a fell run up the Old Man of Coniston in the Lake District under his belt.
Matt, a policy and public affairs officer for a mental health charity, wants to complete the events in memory of his grandad who passed at the Marie Curie Hospice in Birmingham earlier this year, as well as to keep himself fit and healthy.
“I originally set myself this challenge to help get re-motivated into losing some weight and getting fit and healthy,” Matt said.
“When I was 21 I weighed nearly 28 stone but over the next three years I managed to drop down to 14 stone and was the fittest I’d ever been. The problem was, after a couple of years, I found myself backsliding and piling the pounds back on. I’d changed jobs and was stuck in a stressful job, leaving with me no room to keep fit and healthy.
“Over a couple of years in that job I slid back by putting on six stone again. Basically I was 26, overweight and unfit and needed to change, so I set myself the target of completing a length of Britain triathlon within five years.”
So far this year, Matt has raised £500 and he hopes to top that up to £750.
He said: “The two charities are close to my heart because they are both ones which have helped family members of mine at different times. My grandma has previously survived cancer and I wanted to supports charity which promote research into curing cancer.”
Matt’s final triathlon challenge will involve a 24-mile swim up Loch Lomond, followed by a 1,120 mile bike ride from Loch Lomond to John O’ Groats, and then from John O’ Groats to Lands End. Finally he will take on the 262 mile run from Lands End to Dawlish in Devon.
Matt said his family and partner were very supportive.
“They think I’m mad for setting myself such a tough challenge and I don’t think they’ve fully realised how difficult the challenges are going to get!”
Matt has been blogging about his journey on hillsthrillsandmuscleaches.wordpress.com
Follow @ChallengeMatt on Twitter for updates.