“If your challenges don’t scare you, they aren’t big enough. It is safe to say that I am absolutely petrified of this challenge.”

28-year-old Ryan Grey has never been afraid of a challenge, particularly if it can help support a worthy cause. He has now accepted his biggest challenge yet, known as the ‘Double Ironman’ to help support Breast Cancer Haven, a charity close to the hearts of him and his family.

What is the ‘Double Ironman’?

A ‘Double Ironman’ really is the ultimate challenge for athletes who wish to put their skills to the test. The challenge will take place in May 2018, just four days before Ryan’s 29th birthday. It will consist of a 4.8 mile swim (equivalent of swimming from Westminster to Putney Bridge), 232 mile cycle (equivalent of cycling from London to Paris) and to top it off, a 52.4 mile double marathon (equivalent to running from London to Brighton).

Does Ryan get a break in between? Absolutely not. Does he have to stay awake for the entire 43 hours it takes to complete the challenge? You bet!

Why run for Breast Cancer Haven?

Ryan is using his Double Ironman challenge as an opportunity to fundraise for Breast Cancer Haven, a charity both of his parents work for where he has been able to observe and learn about the work the charity does to support those affected by breast cancer.

Ryan says: "My personal goals are a huge motivator for me, but making this challenge a successful fundraiser for Breast Cancer Haven has inspired me even more. I've seen first-hand the incredible work that Breast Cancer Haven, Wessex do for their visitors. They provide a personalised programme of care to everybody that needs support, completely free of charge. Their service is vital and I'm determined that my Double Ironman challenge will help them to provide this service to even more people. 

Why take on such an extreme challenge?

At the end of 2016, the furthest Ryan had ever run in his life was 6 miles, cycled was 18 miles and swum was a quarter of a mile, almost drowning in the process a holiday stunt gone wrong.

Upon reflection of his achievements to date, Ryan gained a new interest in the outdoors and the benefits of cycling. He said: “I started cycling to work to avoid the crowds on the tube. I really enjoyed the 12 mile round commute to work every day and wondered why I had missed out on this for all of these years. I also bought a pair of running shoes and began running too.”

Raising the bar

Ryan decided that he needed to set the bar higher and soon became hooked on the Ironman challenges. He was constantly researching and watching promotional videos of previous competitors.

Ryan added: “I didn’t know how I’d do it but I was determined to achieve the pinnacle of endurance sports – an Ironman. I decided I needed to begin training. I started with a half marathon in January 2017, then completed my first marathon in April 2017 and first triathlon in June 2017. I then completed the Hever Castle Bastion (iron-distance triathlon) in July 2017 followed by the Thames Path 100k Ultramarathon in September 2017.”

Having achieved his initial goal from nought to Ironman in six months and nought to Ultramarathon in nine months, Ryan now seeks his biggest challenge yet – nought to Double Ironman in just 18 months. 

We are so grateful for Ryan's phenomenal support. In true #TeamHaven fashion, we know that he'll triumph in his challenge and we can't wait to cheer him on this May. 

Update: Find out how Ryan's double Ironman challenge went


Feeling up to the challenge? Sign up and join Breast Cancer Haven for a challenge event today

Want to tackle your own challenge in support of Breast Cancer Haven? Get in touch with your local Breast Cancer Haven fundraising team