Extreme athletes and the Lewis inspiration

Superfit twin brothers from Stornoway, Iain and Andrew Todd, set themselves a challenge that few, even experienced athletes, would dare – competing in what is regarded as one of the toughest triathlons on earth.

By Murray MacLeod
Tuesday, 23rd November 2021, 4:54 pm
Updated Tuesday, 23rd November 2021, 4:54 pm
Super-athlete twins, Iain (on the left) and Andrew
Super-athlete twins, Iain (on the left) and Andrew

The Norseman is an extreme event, based as the name might suggest, in Norway and sees competitors swim through icy waters and run and cycle up the country’s mountainous terrain, battling freezing temperatures, high winds and storms – and a lot of time in the dark.

Sign up to our daily Stornoway Gazette Today newsletter

It is no way for the feint of heart and now Andrew and Iain, both based in Glasgow, have released a book on their experiences, entitled ‘Did Not Finish’. However, that should not be seen in any way as failure as the race organisers warn – “this is not for you, nothing personal, but it’s not. This is for people with fight. Resilience. And minds tougher than their bodies”. The event is limited to just 250 select athletes worldwide.

Iain said: “Andrew and I grew up on Lewis. We regularly travelled by ferry to and from the island. Whilst traveling, I would joke with Andrew that one of us should jump off the ferry, just to add some excitement to the journey. Neither of us realized that many years later we would both attempt to jump from a ferry to start the extreme triathlon - Norseman.”Andrew Todd added: “There was only one problem with our ambition to do the race. Neither Iain nor I had ever done a triathlon before.”Iain said the book tells the “story of how two ordinary athletes, with busy lives and other commitments, spent 20 years learning to swim, bike and run” and focusses on “finding joy in sport whether we came first or last”.Andrew said: “Growing up in the Outer Hebrides meant we had plenty of experience of cold water and wild weather. I don't think we could done the race unless we had grown up on Lewis” “I hope readers can relate to the book. It’s a light hearted tale which will hopefully inspire others to take up a challenge” concluded Iain. “Although, I’d not recommend jumping off a ferry. It was very cold!”The book is available now on Amazon: www.amazon.co.uk/DNF-Swimming-brothers-attempted-triathlon-ebook/dp/B09KTCL3G6/