The World Tri: A 12,000 Mile Long Triathlon

World Tri Map

Now here is a very cool expedition for you. Adventurer Charlie Wittmack is setting out on what he calls his “World Tri” today, which will incorporate all the elements of a standard triathlon, and in the same order, but on a much larger scale.

Charlie will begin in London, where he’ll swim down the River Thames, then across the English Channel to France. Once safely on the other side of the Channel, he’ll get on his bike and ride to Calcutta, India, where he’ll then proceed on foot to Nepal, up the Khumbu Valley, and attempt to climb Mt. Everest. All told, the journey is expected to cover more than 12,000 miles through 13 countries, over the span of about 11 months. If all goes as expected, he’ll be making a summit bid on Everest in May of next year. 

Wittmack is no stranger to adventurous pursuits. He successfully climbed Everest back in 2003, and attempted to swim across the English Channel back in 2008. On that attempt he had to be pulled from the water mid-swim due to the cold conditions. This time he is wearing a wetsuit to help keep him warm on his swim. 

The World Tri isn’t just about the adventure however, as Charlie is on the expedition to help raise awareness of a couple of causes in the Health and Education area. The first of those causes is the incredible maternal mortality rate in Nepal, where a woman is 100 times more like to die during childbirth than here in the U.S. When the expedition reaches Kathmandu, a team of doctors and students will provide clinics to help educate local women on steps the can take to be safer and more healthy. In the field of Education, Charlie is working with the Adventure Institute to develop a year long curriculum program to help bring learning communities together, allowing students and educators to share in the experience.

Charlie, along with his wife and son, let out for the London today, and he is expected to begin his swim in the River Thames tomorrow. Hopefully everything will go well, and he’ll complete the swim leg of his triathlon without issue. If not, he says he’ll continue on no matter what, but it shouldn’t be too long before he’s on his bike and peddling his way toward India. 

Kraig Becker