The Ultimate Triathlon – swim, cycle and run from Morocco to Monaco

The Ultimate Triathlon: swim, bike and run from Morocco to Monaco

Aussie ultra-distance triathlete Luke Tyburski prepares to tackle an epic 12-day, 2,000km journey from Morocco to Monaco

Imagine swimming 400 laps of a 50m pool, cycling the length of Britain, then running 14 marathons, in just 12 days.

Once you’ve processed these distances and the time frame in your head, now picture standing on the Northern Moroccan coast in a wetsuit and goggles, quite literally about to throw yourself into the Mediterranean Sea.

In the distance you may see a glimpse of mainland Europe, your destination. To get there you will swim, battling against the extremely strong currents, while dodging some 300 vessels that travel through this busy shipping lane, the Strait of Gibraltar.

Map of Morocco to Monaco

When you finally reach the southern tip of Spain (which you will), you then have 115km of cycling to complete that very same day.

Over the following four days you’ll cycle the picturesque south-eastern coastline of Spain, over 1,300km. The days will be long, windy, and hilly at times, but you will not quit!

>>> Six questions to ask yourself before going ultra-long

At the end of the fifth day of this epic challenge, you reach the Spanish and French border. From here you will transform your mindset from a Tour de France cyclist into an elite ultra-runner.

Over the next week, you have over 80km to run, walk, or crawl each day (yep, a double marathon everyday for seven days) along the south of France heading for Monaco, the final destination and finishing line of your self-imposed 12 day adventure.

Just so you don’t get bored or lonely throughout these 12 gruelling days, the journey will be streamed live, online. You will interact with the world using video chats, social media and audio broadcasts during and at the end of each day. A team of scientists from Roehampton University in London will also be on hand to poke, prod and hopefully (for your mums sake), keep you alive. 

Luke Tyburski running in the mountains

The Ultimate Triathlon

This is what I’ve been dreaming about everyday for the past three years, The Ultimate Triathlon.

“Why” is always one of the first things I’m asked. That’s simple. To inspire others to get out of their own comfort zone, as I’ll be well and truly out of mine!

Whether it’s to run in a 5k, marathon, or complete a triathlon, it doesn’t matter. I want to inspire people to do what they think is not possible, and ignite a spark inside of them so they begin to believe.

Luke Tyburski

My first ever triathlon was The Double Brutal Extreme Triathlon. Starting my triathlon career with a race of this magnitude wasn’t going to be easy to eclipse and I needed to come up with something big!

>>> Read Luke's report on 'Digging deep into the pain locker at the Double Brutal Extreme

The Ultimate Triathlon is a challenge that I created from quite literally looking at a world map and – although it sounds very cliché – the route just jumped out at me.

It will begin during the final week of October this year, and finish 12 days after I take my first stroke in the 15°C waters off of the coast of Morocco. Although the mileage each day is quite a lot, even for the most seasoned endurance athlete, this isn’t my main concern. It’s the lack of sleep I’ll be facing each night.

Yes, I will get a rest between each stage, and sleep in a bed each night, but for how long depends on how hard I push myself each day. Working too hard has its own fatiguing consequences…

>>> Chrissie Wellington on... The importance of rest days

Luke Tyburski in the performance lab

Time to train

My preparation for this never-been-done before swim, bike, run (and probably crawl) event has just begun. I’ve structured my training into three phases.

A block phase, where I’ll complete between 18-25 hours of swim, bike, run and gym training per week over a 4-6 week period.

I’ll then enter the loading phase. For 5-10 days I’ll focus on one or two of the triathlon disciplines, with high mileage being the aim, like a mini training camp.

Finally, it’s the most important of the three, the recovery phase. I’ll minimise my training, focus on rest, recovery, and relaxation for a period of 7-10 days (or however long I feel I need). It’s here my body will reap the benefits of the previous training phases, and prepare me to do it all over again! Train, eat, sleep, repeat. Right?

The Ultimate Triathlon. Let’s do it!

Luke Tyburski in open water swim training

Head to to find out how training is going, see some homemade real food recipes, or to simply say hi. You can also keep tabs on the journey by searching for #morocco2monaco on Twitter or by giving me a follow. I also have a blog where I have been documenting my other adventures.


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