The film ‘The Italian Job’ saw Minis whizzing around Turin but Ayton’s Hamish Allan won’t have four wheels to help him complete a 1,344 mile triathlon of the same name in under 14 days!
The former Longridge Towers pupil and Northumbria University graduate will join up with his friend Kit Alexander from the Isle of Man for the testing endurance challenge from Capri to London in July which the pair are doing to raise money for Coming Home, a charity which helps to specifically adapt houses for war heroes who have been injured serving their country in combat.
They hope to raise £30,000 and although Hamish is a keen player of rugby and water sports and enjoys skiing, he isn’t afraid to admit the triathlon is an incredibly tough gauntlet to be thrown down.
“We first had the idea of doing a charity bike ride and then everything snowballed from there. We initially planned to complete the expedition in 18 days but we thought it sounded better if we did it in under 2 weeks. Not quite sure where we trimmed the four days off though!” he explained.
“So now we’re going to put our bodies through hell all for a good cause. Kit and I both value the work Coming Home do and when you see guys your own age and younger giving their all for their country it does make you think ‘why aren’t we doing that?’ or ‘how could we help contribute’?
“If I was injured whilst abroad, I would certainly be comforted knowing that there were people at home willing to help me get my life back on track.”
After deciding that they wanted to put themselves through the mill for Coming Home, the next step for Hamish and Kit was to come up with a route, although like the triathlon itself, the planning stage sent them in different directions.
“We wanted the event to fit the name of the charity, so we are effectively ‘coming home’ from Italy whilst putting our bodies through their paces at the same time”.
“Originally we wanted to start in Morocco and cycle up through Spain but The Gibraltar Swimming Association double booked our crossing date so we ended up not being given the allocated spot for 2013.
“So that pretty much blew everything out of the water and sent us back to the drawing board, eventually leading us to Italy.”
Although the distance pales in comparison to the 1,300 they will cycle, 18 miles is still a hell of a distance for Hamish and Kit to swim particularly when you take into account that they aren’t regular swimmers.
The stretch of water from Naples to Capri Island was first covered in around 12 hours in 1949 by Aldo Fioravanti and Cesare Alferi but the now notorious route has since been covered in just 6 hours and 29 minutes.
Being realistic, Hamish and Kit, who are due to embark on a intense three month swimming programme in preparation, hope to complete the swim in around nine hours in relay form and hope to cross the Gulf of Naples in good enough time for them to start their mammoth bike journey on the same day.
The punishing trip home will see the daring duo travel along mountain passes reaching 2,436 metres high and cycling at temperatures of up to 35 degrees.
The route will take them through four different countries, all while carrying around an added 20kg of equipment on their bikes.
And Hamish was happy to report that training for the two wheeled segment of the triathlon had been going well.
“We did the London to Paris cycle back in November and that went well although we know the triathlon cycle will be a completely different kettle of fish having to cycle 110+ miles per day for 12 consecutive days.
“We’ll be sleeping in tents and cooking on portable stoves which will have to travel with us, along with all our other equipment. We’ll be relying on getting a good night’s sleep on the journey as we’ll need as much energy as possible.
“This means that we’ve really got to focus on what we’re eating as well. The cycle alone will see us burn around 6,000 calories a day so we’ll need to make sure that we place a huge emphasis on diet to help our bodies recuperate for the following day.”
After completing 1,318 miles in the water and in the saddle, the last thing you’d want to do is complete a marathon when you set foot back on home turf.
But that’s the welcome home Hamish and Kit have laid on for themselves- setting out a 6.55 mile course in London which they’ll complete four times to equal the exact distance of a full marathon.
“The early mornings and late nights required to organise and train for the event are starting to take their toll” Hamish admitted.
“But we are both very excited to do the triathlon even though some of my friends think I’m mad for doing it. I’m taking holiday time from work to do it, although I’m not sure it would be most people’s idea of a holiday!”
If you want to find out more about Hamish and Kit’s triathlon or help them reach their £30,000 target, visit www.theitalianjob2013.co.uk.