Taking a challenge to intense levels, this athlete competes in 3 extreme triathlons

If you see someone swimming in frigid Long Pond, it's probably Ben Hayley.

Ben Hayley likes a challenge, to say the least, and heads to Scotland this weekend

To say Ben Hayley likes to challenge his body is an understatement. (Eddy Kennedy/CBC)

Summer is the time of year for a jaunt in the sunshine, a swim in the water and a ride on your bike, but one man is on a mission to take it to the absolute extreme.

Ben Hayley, 25, is competing in three extreme triathlons over the next eight weeks.

"I've just always liked to challenge my mind and my body," said Hayley, a fitness lead with Max Fitness in St. John's who is originally from Grand Falls-Windsor.

Hayley gets decked out in his wetsuit for a dip in frigid Long Pond with the ducks on a chilly June day in St. John's. (Eddy Kennedy/CBC)

An extreme triathlon is similar to an Ironman triathlon — competitors will run, cycle and swim. But to make it extreme, they'll do it in extreme conditions.

"Last year I did Alaskaman and it was one of the coolest, craziest experiences of my life. Learned a lot about myself, what you can push your body through," he said.

"When I got home last year I was like, man, I've got to do something like that again. I'm just totally addicted to it now."

This coming weekend, Hayley will be headed to northern Scotland to compete in the Celtman Extreme Scottish Triathlon.

He'll do a 3.8-kilometre swim in the frigid water, a 200-kilometre bike ride, and a 42.2-kilometre marathon. Because of the extreme conditions, a support crew is needed, unlike an Ironman event.

"It's in the mountain ranges in northern Scotland, so yeah the elevation has a big impact on the extreme event as well," Hayley said.

'It's extremely cold'

To get his body used to cold temperatures, the St. John's weather has certainly been co-operating, keeping Long Pond cool for his practice swims.

"It's extremely cold. But you gotta acclimatize the body," Hayley said.

The Scotland event is one of three extreme triathlons Hayley is competing in this summer. 

Entrants are selected by lottery. Hayley was originally accepted to the Swedeman and Canadaman, and accepted the invite to both.

He then found out that he gained a second-round entry for the Celtman, meaning his weeks this summer are pretty strictly scheduled for training.

"The training can get pretty crazy throughout the whole program. I'd say my biggest week has been around 21 to 22 hours, and a lot of that is your bike ride. That takes up a big chunk of time," said Hayley.

Hayley swims in the chilly waters of Long Pond to get ready for his three extreme triathlons this summer. First, in Scotland, then to Quebec and, finally, on to Sweden. (Eddy Kennedy/CBC)

"One weekend I did a seven-hour ride on the Saturday and then on the Sunday I would do a four-hour. So you're punching out 11 hours right there in two days."

His goal is to eventually complete all seven of the extreme triathlon events, with a support crew in tow.

For the Celtman, his girlfriend will be joining him as a summer runner in the marathon portion.

"She's been training for it and she's ready to tackle the mountain with me."

Read more articles from CBC Newfoundland and Labrador

With files from Jeremy Eaton