Co Down 'IronDad' aiming to break world record and raise funds for mental health
AN 'IronDad' from Co Down is attempting to break a world record for completing triathlons in a bid to "empower young people and their mental health".
Declan Loy has already chalked up 20 of the gruelling 'Ironman 70.3' events in cities around the world to raise funds for the his mental health charity Super You.
He has just three more of the half-triathlons to endure to equal the Guinness World record for the most races in 12 months - with hopes he could complete 30 in total.
Considered one of the most difficult sporting events in the world, participants swim, cycle and run over a course of more than 70 miles.
Mr Loy, who is from Newry but lives in Castlebellingham, recently completed the Challenge Riccione in Italy and will race again this Sunday in France.
His year-long challenge will help raise funds and awareness of Super You - a charity he set up with the "help of some friends to make a difference".
It aims to "empower, inspire and support the youth of today" by helping young people to "learn how to manage and overcome challenges and pressures they can experience".
Insisting he is not an athlete but "just an ordinary family man", Mr Loy said he had taken up the sporting challenge in a bid to help others.
"We go to the gym to look after our bodies, but we don’t seem to know how to look after our minds," he said.
"I am saddened when I hear and see stories of young people using anti-depressants, self-harm or alcohol to try and help them cope with challenges that life throws at them.
"It’s even more heartbreaking when you hear of a teenager or anyone for that matter taking their own life, which affects a family forever.
"I thought about this over a long period of time and just thought to myself, I need to do something, I need to make a difference in some shape or form that may save someone or help even one person in some way."
Mr Loy said he has always been a very positive person and "the idea of setting up a charity called Super You to me was the perfect way to go".
"I have young kids of my own and I want them to grow up with coping skills and for them to know that it’s okay not to be okay.
"I also wanted to help young people identify their talents and make them aware that anything you put your mind to is possible."
For further information see www.superyouclub.co.uk or www.justgiving.com/crowdfunding/superyouclub