Aussie born, UK-dwelling adventure athlete, Luke Tyburski, recently embarked on a never-before-attempted endurance challenge called the Ultimate Triathlon (UT). The self-created adventure covered 2000 km in 12 days, from Morocco to Monaco, and pushed Luke to the absolute limits.
Far from the fitting the ‘superman’ image of mainstream athletes, though, Luke is not famous or a world champion, and he is the first to talk-down his achievements. His warm, modest persona is part of what makes his story so approachable—in most ways Luke is a regular guy. But there is an underlying drive that shapes Luke’s life—one which he strives to inspire in others:
I simply want to inspire others to get out of their comfort zone, and live life everyday!
Listen to our full interview with Luke here.
Growing up in the Australian bush, Luke developed an apatite for adventure: exploring paddocks; swimming in rivers; climbing trees; and, as he recalls, “falling out of them.” This adventurous side, initially, translated into a passion for football (soccer) and the pursuit of a pro football career:
Throughout my teenage years and the majority of my twenties, I travelled around the world pursing my boyhood football dream. I was lucky enough to play not only in my homeland, but in the U.S.A, Belgium and England. Although I never quite reached the level I strived for, I still had a satisfying career.
Unfortunately, that career was cut short by significant, chronic and persistent injuries. What followed was an unexpected, yet quite severe struggle with acute, clinical depression—a black hole of desperation that often left Luke bedridden and teetering on hopelessness:
At times I was unable to get out of bed, pretending to leave my home so my housemates thought I was out for the day, but really I was holed up in my bedroom, hiding away. Weeks past where I had no recollection of what I did, where I went, or who I even engaged with; I felt lost, numb, and void from the world!
Eventually, enough was enough, and Luke made the bold decision to call time on his football career. What was next?
This major decision left me with what I thought was a directionless life, and feeling like I had a huge void to fill, I (without thinking) signed up to the infamous Marathon des Sables; a 250 kilometre, six stage self-sufficient running race through the Sahara desert in Morocco.
Digging deep and calling on the adventurous spirit of his childhood, Luke began exploring again—deciding to take on the infamous Marathon des Sables (a pretty big first step.) Against the odds, having never ran more than 10 kilometers at any one time, and with only six months to prepare, Luke conquered the 250 km, six-stage self-sufficient running race across the treacherous and unrelenting sand dunes of the Moroccan Sahara, in 2012! Watch the video (above), giving a small glimpse into the immense challenges that Luke overcame to complete the race:
I felt rejuvenated, energised, and like my old self while training for this race, and even managed to finish the Marathon des Sables after sustaining a reoccurring knee injury on the first day, needing an IV drip while suffering from severe dehydration on the fourth day, and without any skin on several of my severely infected toes that were covered in blisters.
On his return from Morocco, Luke found himself at a crossroads—which direction did he want to take in his life?
Reality came crashing down on my return from Morocco, the battle with overcoming my constant depressed state now felt insuppressible.
I felt I had nowhere to go, so I launched myself into extreme adventures & endurance sports, taking on anything, no matter the magnitude. At first, it was slightly detrimental with the extreme velocity I challenged myself, but over time I found a balance and realised that being on my bike, swimming in lakes, or running along picturesque trails created a calming sensation, while giving me insight into my destructive internal self; for the first time in many years I felt at peace, and with a clear mind!
After this enlightening experience of discovering a new love for endurance sports and accepting my mental health illness, I knew a mix of adventuring and endurance sports was the direction I wanted to take.
Luke continued on his adventures with numerous challenges, including the Mt. Everest Ultra Marathon and the double ironman distance Double Brutal Extreme Triathlon. He recalls one of his favorites—a 412 km cycle ride from London to Newquay, just to learn how to surf the following day (see video above):
Some of my favourites are: cycling 412 km in a day to Newquay from London, just to learn how to surf the following day; and spending six weeks with some Nepalese ultra runners, high up in their mountainous homes, before trekking to Everest Basecamp to run the world’s highest ultra-marathon—The Everest Ultra.
Since rediscovering his passion for adventure, Luke’s never looked back and his passion for life continues to shape and determine his goals. He now aspires to share his experiences with others and inspire them to dream big, believe in themselves and chase their dreams!
His latest challenged, aptly named the Ultimate Triathlon, saw Luke traverse 2000 km (on land and sea) in 12 days, from Morocco to Monaco. Luke had an independent filmmaker follow him throughout the challenge, and a documentary will be released this September, with potential screenings in London, Sydney, and LA. Visit theultimatetriathlon.co, to find out more and support the project.
It’s easy to admire the feats of the truly touched. It’s inspirational. But I cherish sharing stories like Luke’s because they are also aspirational. And because relatable, everyman guys, like Luke, demonstrate that big dreams are possible and accessible for all.
Featured image: Luke’s propeller hat always brings a smile to people he meets on his adventures, which in turn motivates him to keep going, even when it gets tough. Photo: courtesy Luke Tyburski.