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ARC TO ARCH: Ricky resident joins relay team in world’s hardest triathlon

 Published on: 23rd September 2023   |   By: Sophia Sheera   |   Category: Uncategorized

A relay team of six triathletes, including Rickmansworth’s own Des Fahy, took on the infamous Arc to Arch triathlon at 2.30am on Friday, 1 September.

Participants in the Arch to Arch challenge run 87 miles from Marble Arch in London to Dover, swim 21 miles across the English Channel from Dover to France and then cycle 181 miles from Calais to the Arc de Triomphe in Paris.

The Aspire Panthers team each did an hour of running on rotation, with the rest of the group following in a minibus, then did the same for the cycling stretch and the swim across the Channel.

Des, a retired civil servant, explained that each of the participants had backgrounds in endurance sport and many have competed in solo triathlons. Des himself completed the Ironman in Cork last year, as well as an ultramarathon totalling 100 miles.

Speaking to RickyNews, Des confided: “The most difficult part of the race was the swim. Due to weather conditions, we ended up setting off from Dover at midnight. My headlight and goggles came off during my first leg and there were so many jellyfish that I swam with fists rather than flat palms to avoid scooping them up.”

His favourite moment was reaching the shore in France. “When I stood up on sand, everyone on the beach was clapping and cheering. Someone threw their two-month-old baby at me and started taking pictures. Then I looked behind me and saw that the rest of the team had jumped off the boat and were swimming the last 100 metres, too. One of my teammates is a ballet dancer, and she started doing pirouettes on the shore.”

Des managed to raise over £4 800 for Aspire, a charity supporting people with spinal cord injuries.

“Once you have been involved with an Aspire team you will have new friends for life,” Des smiled.

Next week, Des plans to run the 50-mile route from Glasgow to Edinburgh.

Des’ fundraiser is still live at and more information about Aspire is available from

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