Adventurer completes world's first weighted Ironman challenge shining light on mental health issues

Credit: Daniel Williams

A British adventurer has become the first person to complete a full distance Ironman while wearing a 15kg weighted vest.

Isaac Kenyon, 29, embarked on the challenge in North Devon on Sunday 10 September — which is also World Suicide Prevention Day — to shed light on mental health issues.

An Ironman consists of a 2.4-mile swim, an 112-mile cycle, and a marathon 26.22-mile run.

Isaac endured 29 hours of activity to complete the gruelling challenge, and had to deal with joint stress, muscle fatigue and breathing difficulties as he navigated the route.

Isaac completed the challenge with a 26.2-mile marathon run. Credit: Daniel Williams

He decided to wear the 15kg vest during the Ironman as a symbol for the weight of mental health burdens.

Isaac explained: "Wearing a weighted vest during the Ironman wasn't just about conquering a physical challenge, it's a powerful metaphor for the burdens of mental health struggles.

"With every step, I carried the weight of those who battle anxiety, depression, and thoughts of despair."

He added: "By embracing this symbolic challenge, I wanted to shed light on mental health causes and prove that together, we can overcome even the heaviest of burdens."

Isaac finished the challenge on Dunkery Beacon, in North Devon, after 29 hours of endurance. Credit: Daniel Williams

Isaac said his desire to raise awareness of the challenges people face with their mental health and bring about change helped give him the fuel he needed to complete the challenge.

Having battled with anxiety, feelings of disconnect and even moments of suicidal despair, Isaac said he drew on his own experiences during the journey.

He continued: "This journey isn't just mine — it's a shared testament of resilience, empathy, and the hope that through open conversations, we can alleviate the hidden weights many carry."

"I believe that mental fitness is akin to physical fitness and that it can help individuals become more resilient while developing tools and coping strategies for dealing with difficult periods of mental health.

"Raising awareness about this subject can help reduce the stigma around mental health."

Weighed Down, a short documentary about the challenge, is due to be released later this year.