We’ve seen some pretty tough and grueling fitness and adventure challenges before, but endurance athlete Ashley Horner may have just taken things to a completely new level. The 34-year old has embarked on what has to be amongst the hardest physical challenges ever as she sets out to complete 50 Ironman triathlons in 50 days, across Haiti and the 48 contiguous United States.
The attempt got underway last week when she completed the first of those triathlons in Haiti. From there, she’ll continue knocking out one Ironman a day until she’s done one in every U.S. state, other than Alaska and Hawaii. Then, to wrap things up, she’ll return to Haiti to finish her 50th Ironman in 50 days.
A standard triathlon is challenging enough and doing 50 in 50 days would be a true test of stamina. But an Ironman requires even more determination and dedication. Rather than just swimming .9 miles (1.5 km), an Ironman requires that athlete to swim 2.4 miles (3.8 km) instead. From there, its on to the bike leg, which is 112 miles (180 km) in length, before wrapping things up with a full 26.2 mile (42.1 km) marathon. Typically completing one of these races is enough to put most athletes on the couch for some serious recovery time afterwards. Horner won’t have that luxury however, as she’ll be doing 49 more back-to-back.
Why start in Haiti you ask? Because Horner is hoping to raise $100,000 for the Maison Fortuné orphanage, which is based in that country. Located in Hinche, Haiti, the orphanage serves as a shelter and primary school for more than 85 girls and 150 boys who otherwise wouldn’t get much of a chance at having a good life. Here, they get an education, form friendships, and are cared for, giving them opportunities that might not come their way otherwise.
Horner is no stranger to these types of grueling challenges. The fitness queen has already completed a 1350 mile (2172 km) bike ride and run 230 miles (370 km) in 72 hours. Still, this will be an entirely different type of challenge as the daily grind starts to wear on her throughout the 50 days. She is determined to see this through however and tells ESPN “Guaranteed, I’m going to get it done.”
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