Since finding fitness and running a number of years back, Matt has since gone on to become an accomplished ultra-endurance athlete in his own right. Some of his key achievements include cycling John O'Groats to Land's End, running John O'Groats to Land's End, swimming Britain's biggest lake - Lake Windamere, completing 30 x Half Ironmans in 30-days and completing 10 x full Ironmans in 10-days. We speak to Matt to find out what it takes to complete such extreme challenges and why he does it.
I’m just f***ing nuts! I’ve always gone in, headfirst into things. If I’m going to do something, I can’t just pick at the edges, I’ve got to go in and take it as far as I possibly can go. For me, that’s where I get my enjoyment from.
I got to the point where my skateboarding and stunts were taking their toll on my body and I knew it was coming to an end. That’s when I found fitness and running.
From starting running, my mind started wandering. I started thinking, ”if I can do a half marathon, then I can do a marathon. If I can do a marathon then I can do an ultra. If I can do an ultra then I can do an ironman.” All these challenges just came off the back of finding fitness. I f***ing love it.
Stupid, ridiculous endurance events are a way of helping exorcise my inner demons and get my mind right. If I didn’t do this then I would just be smashing a load of drugs down my head.
I can’t think of anything else that makes you go through the things you go through when you’re doing an endurance event. There are tremendous highs, tremendous lows, it’s really uncomfortable, it’s painful, but, It brings me so much joy and so much happiness. It’s a great way of switching off from the madness of the outside world. You get so engrossed in what you’re doing that you don’t give a shit about your social media or what's going on in the news. Nothing else matters. It’s a good place to be, it’s a positive place to be, and I love it.
T-bone steaks, chicken breasts, pulled pork... Nah, obviously I’m joking. I went vegan in 2015 and as far as I’m concerned it’s helped my performance no-end. For me, I feel far healthier, far cleaner and am a better person and athlete from the vegan diet.
I tend to keep it quite basic, to be honest. I like pasta, potatoes, roast veg, beetroot, porridge, dates, nuts, organic fruit, baked beans, and all that sort of stuff. I just f***ing love fruit and veg!
During endurance events, I try to avoid energy gels as they can often be full of processed sugars, which cause you to crash. What I love to do is make and take some vegan power balls with me, made from dates and organic, natural sugars. You can find a recipe for them in my cookbook if you want to try them out for yourself.
Just don’t f***ing give up!
When I was doing the double Ironman up in Snowdon, I went to some really dark places. It was freezing cold, pitch black, I was sleep-deprived and my energy was zapped. It was a constant war between happiness and darkness. One minute I was riding a tremendous high, feeling like Batman, the next, I’m tripping my bollocks off seeing Emon Holmes in the middle of the road! Some people buckle and give up, but you’ve just got to tell those demons to ‘f*** off’ and not give up! Once you’ve done it a couple of times, it gets easier and you become a stronger person, mentally.
I talk to myself shit loads when doing these events. I talk to the cows, I talk to the sheep. I’ll talk to anything. It’s a way of self-motivating and taking my mind off the pain. I’ll be talking to myself and someone will pass me and think “who the f*** is he talking to?!” haha
F***ing right I do! It’s “Sleep when you’re dead”. I live my life by this, now more than ever.
We’re not here forever. f***ing get up and do the most stupid thing you can think of. If someone says to you “why you going up a mountain twenty thousand times, that’s stupid”, tell them to shut the f*** up! If you want to do something, you do it! Don’t let anyone talk you out of something you want to do. Life is short. Don’t let time pass you by.