Veteran completes ‘turtle triathlon’ for ex-servicepeople charity

Photo by Jon Tyson on Unsplash

A veteran of the Royal Navy from Cornwall has been dubbed ‘turtle-y amazing’ after completing a triathlon while dressed as a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle.

Simon Backhouse, 45, from Helston, swam 400 metres, cycled 26 kilometres and ran for five kilometres during the Wadebridge Triathlon earlier this month in support of Blind Veterans UK, the national charity for vision-impaired ex-Service men and women.

Simon, who served for 22 years as a Royal Navy Para Commando physical training instructor, said: “I wanted to take on a challenge in memory of my mum and dad and to also show my support to fellow veterans who have lost their sight.

“I ran the last kilometre of the triathlon with the turtle costume hood zipped up; I could see very little through it. I wanted to experience and appreciate what it is like to live with sight loss; I was very emotional at the end.

“The suit itself was extremely heavy as I wore it in the water for the swim and it was raining during the run and the ride so it was soaking.”

Simon finished the triathlon in one hour and 46 minutes and has raised over £800 for Blind Veterans UK, adding: “As a physical training instructor for the Navy, I’d been involved in the organisation of triathlons but had never previously taken part in one myself. This was a first and I will do another but maybe not dressed as a turtle.

“The fancy dress was a nod to my military past, 20 years ago those of us on the Navy physical training course went on a night out dressed in turtle costumes so it seemed fitting to wear the outfit again.

“Hopefully the money I’ve raised will be pivotal towards the support for a veteran with sight loss.”

Blind Veterans UK supports thousands of blind veterans across the country but knows there are many thousands more who still need its support to rebuild their lives after sight loss.

If Simon’s ‘hero in a half shell’ triathlon has inspired you to take on your own challenge this June for Armed Forces Month please visit the Blind Veterans UK website for details on how you can get involved.