Belfast man aiming to break half triathlon Guinness World Record

A kindhearted Belfast man is hoping to create history this month and set a new Guinness World Record when he takes on his 25th half distance triathlon of the year.

Brian Armstrong, who will be taking on the challenge in north Down on July 17, will be completing his 23rd and 24th 70.3 triathlons in the Carrickfergus and Browns Bay areas on Sunday, July 10 and Wednesday, July 13.

Brian’s record-breaking attempt will start with a swim at Ballyholme Yacht Club at 10am before commencing a cycle on the Ards Peninsulanat 11am. He will then run from Ballyholme to Donaghadee Lighthouse and back with an estimated finish time of between 4.30pm and 5pm.

Former US Marine Michael Mendoza set the current World Record of 24 in 2017 and when Brian reaches that number, he intends carrying on the effort and completing 50 ‘70.3’ triathlons this year.

Brian Armstrong.

Brian, who has worked for Northern Ireland Alternatives- Restorative Justice for 14 years, has also been using the gruelling initiative to raise money to support mental health services across the city.

Speaking to the Carrick Times, Brian said: “I started this on January 2 and I’ve been going out every Sunday and completing the 70.3 distance. Each attempt involves a 1.2 mile swim in the open water, 56 miles on the bike and then finishing with a half-marathon (13.1 miles).

“As the weeks have gone on, I’ve been able to do some additional attempts mid-week. After each attempt, my results are recorded electronically on three separate platforms and sent to Guinness to verify.

“Once I hit the 25 target and set the new record, I’m going to keep going to reach 50. While the weather is warmer and the days are longer, I’m going to try doubling-up some weeks and hope to hit the 50 mark by October.

“I’m currently doing around 180 miles a week between the record attempt and then cool-downs and training. I do the main attempt on Sundays so I can try and keep a good family balance and do something with them on a Saturday.

“I wanted to push the boundaries and prove that if you put your mind to something, with a bit of perseverance, you can achieve it.

“I’ve received a lot of support from my family and friends and I have never felt as mentally or physically better. Hopefully by me doing this, I’ll be able to inspire a few more people to achieve their goals.”

Detailing his inspiration for taking on the effort, he explained: “I am aiming to raise funds for Alternatives’ mental health and counselling services. This is a community-based therapeutic service helping people at their point of need. The aim is to develop this into a unique service where we can work with a person’s mental health and addictions at the same time.

“Alternatives works with some of the most vulnerable and at-risk groups of people and through my work, I have witnessed high levels of trauma, addiction and poor mental health that ravages these communities.

“I want to use the ‘Tri50’ challenge to help raise money for the mental health service within Alternatives.”

Brian, who is a member of Monkstown Spartans athletics club, added: “I have been supported by my team mates in the Spartans, Dromore Cycling Club and Brown Shoes Triathlon Club, as well as a number of local businesses, who have generously backed me throughout my World Record attempt. I wish to thank them all for their support.”

For more information and to keep up to date with Brian’s progress, check out the Brian’s Tri50 Guinness World Record Attempt Facebook page.

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