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'World Tri' athlete gets stuck in mud

By This is Kent  |  Posted: August 06, 2010

Hot water: Charlie Wittmack, who is attempting a round-the-world triathlon, swam into trouble near Halstow

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AN ATHLETE attempting the toughest round-the-world triathlon ever conceived had to be saved by the coastguard when he swam into trouble near Halstow on the Hoo Peninsula

American explorer Charlie Wittmack, 33, who is swimming, running and cycling 10,000 miles from London to the summit of Mount Everest got stuck at Halstow Marshes on Saturday night.

The event – dubbed the World Tri – has been described as the toughest human endurance race ever attempted.

As dusk fell at about 8.30pm, Mr Wittmack and manager Brian Triplett, 26, who was travelling behind on a kayak, decided calling the coastguard was their best course of action.

Also travelling with the pair are Mr Wittmack's wife Cate, two-and-a-half-year-old son James, and filmmaker Andy Stoll, 30.

Explaining what happened at Halstow, Mr Triplett said: "We got ourselves stuck in the mud flats. To get to Sheerness we had the options of swimming across the shipping yard or the mud flats, and when the sun started to go down we knew attempting either would be a bad idea."

Southend Inshore Lifeboat was sent to recover the duo, and dropped them off on Sheppey – their intended destination.

The next day Mr Wittmack took to the water to reach Herne Bay. From there he will make his way to Dover and then cross the English Channel.

The World Tri covers 13 countries and is expected to take 11 months to complete.

Mr Wittmack will then cycle from France to India before running to Nepal to conquer Mount Everest.

He hopes tackling the 13-country course will raise awareness of global health and education.

He started the World Tri on July 1 and isn't expected to finish until next June.

Mr Wittmack, who lives in North Carolina, is an accomplished marathon swimmer and explorer.

When not on expeditions, he is a practicing attorney and a professor in the department of global health at Des Moines University in Iowa.

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