This May, a local man is aiming to complete seven Ironman Triathlons on seven consecutive days in Crowborough.
Mental health advocate, 30 year old James Cooper from Rotherfield, who went to Herne Junior School and Beacon Community College is the founder Smilinggg. During the week’s endurance challenge, he will swim a total of 16.8 miles, cycle 784 miles and run (or walk?) 183.4 miles.
If you have been to the new running track at Goldsmiths this year, you may have seen James preparing for his feat. To date he has completed over 1,000 loops of the 400m track.
During the 7in7 challenge he will be swimming 2.4 miles each day at the pool at Goldsmiths Leisure Centre. James is currently formulating the cycle route beginning at Goldsmiths, but it is likely to take him through Crowborough and out around Maresfield, Nutley crossing Ashdown Forest. He is hoping to find a 16 mile loop and repeat it seven times each day.
His Smileathon 7in7 challenge is taking place during Mental Health Awareness Week from Monday 14th May. In 2016 there were 5,965 suicides in the UK. He hopes the Smileathlon will help raise £5,965 for two mental health charities, Mind and the Samaritans, whilst also raising awareness for his health and wellness movement.
James has also been fortunate to have received a generous donation following a Twitter exchange with Wadhurst resident, broadcaster Davina McCall:
Look at James bio ‘ please support if u can 😃🙏🏻 https://t.co/gCsixGchJl
— Davina McCall (@ThisisDavina) February 19, 2018
The former sales and marketing executive, walked away from his office job, at the age of 23 due to dissatisfaction with his life. He obtained a Diploma in Personal Training and spent the next two years helping people all over the world improve their health and fitness. An innocuous tackle whilst playing football in 2012 on the top pitch at Goldsmiths, saw James break both his tibia and fibula in his left leg. James since refers to this injury as his ‘lucky break’:
I was playing for Crowborough Social FC, we were coasting to a 3-0 victory which would clinch us the Division Six League Title. With about thirty minutes to go, I was tackled. I just remember lying on my back looking down at my seriously disfigured leg and shouting ‘my leg, my leg’. To be fair, at first I think some of my teammates thought I was mucking around. The game was abandoned, I was carted off to Pembury Hospital where I had a metal rod and pins inserted to fix the broken tibia and fibula and to start a 4-month recovery period. The rod and pins are still in my left leg today.
I’m a firm believer that everything happens for a reason and I’m constantly working hard to ingrain the saying ‘amor fati’ / love of fate. I’ve learnt through experience that there’s so much opportunity for personal growth and wisdom in the face of adversity and that is truly when you learn most about yourself. It’s how we approach adversities and hardships on the micro level, the daily actions that make all of the difference as to whether we bounce back or bounce forward over time.
This ‘lucky break’ has lead to some of the greatest experiences of my life so far. From teaching English in Phuket, Thailand to health coaching in Hoi An, Vietnam. Not forgetting the other countries visited and the incredible people I’ve met along the way.