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Combating Depression Through Ultra-Endurance: Luke Tyburski’s Ultimate Triathlon

By July 22, 2015January 26th, 20244 Comments

“What gets me through the dark days is knowing that I can make a difference in someone else’s life if I apply myself.”

Luke Tyburski

Aussie born, UK-dwelling adventure athlete Luke Tyburski isn’t superman. He’s not famous nor is he a world champion. And he’s the first to say he’s just not that talented. In most ways Luke is a normal bloke. An everyman who decided to face his debilitating battle with clinical depression through the lens of adventure and ultra-endurance sports.

Soccer obsessed as a young boy, from the get go Luke realized he lacked the God-given athletic gifts enjoyed by his teammates. Nonetheless, perseverance prevailed and Luke achieved his life-long dream of traveling the world as a professional footballer.

Unfortunately, that career was cut short by significant, chronic & persistent injuries. What followed was an unexpected yet quite severe bout with acute, clinical depression — a back hole of desperation that often left him bedridden and teetering on hopelessness.

To escape this prison, Luke dug deep. Through sheer force of will matched with equal parts faith, he compelled his mutinying body, mind and spirit to simply get up, get outside and begin exploring again — one step at a time.

Having never ran more than 10 kilometers at any one time, and with only six months to prepare, in 2012 Luke conquered the infamous Marathon des Sables, a 250 kilometer, six stage self-sufficient running race across the treacherous and unrelenting sand dunes of the Moroccan Sahara.

Since then he has competed in a variety of adventure races, including the Mt. Everest Ultra Marathon. His first ever triathlon? The double ironman distance Double Brutal Extreme Triathlon.

My kind of guy.

Currently, Luke’s sights are set on achieving the truly extraordinary — a self-styled 12-day, 2000 kilometer adventure he calls The Ultimate Triathlon that kicks off in Morocco with a swim across the Straight of Gibraltar before cycling and running the coastline all the way to Monaco.

It’s easy to admire the feats of the truly touched. It’s inspirational. But I cherish sharing stories like Luke’s because they are aspirational. And because relatable, everyman guys like Luke demonstrate that big dreams are possible and accessible for all.

This is a conversation that explores:

  • what its like to be clinically depressed
  • preparing for The Ultimate Triathlon
  • developing confidence as an outmatched youth
  • how attention to nutrition changed his game
  • the importance of a holistic approach to well-being
  • endurance sports as escapism
  • the importance of adventurous life
  • how the compassion of strangers in Nepal changed his perspective
  • what keeps him motivated; and
  • how to bridge the gap between inspiration and action

An adventurous life is a worth leading. Luke’s life is well worth the examination. I sincerely hope you enjoy our discussion.

How can you invite more adventure into your life? I’d love to hear about it in the comments section below.

Peace + Plants,


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Background, Context & Reference:

Notable People Discussed in today’s podcast:

Related Podcasts You Might Enjoy:

Production, music & sound design by Tyler Piatt. Additional production by Chris Swan. Graphic art by Shawn Patterson.

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  • Alastair Baldwin says:

    Nice one Rich – Loved it. Namaste

  • Travis Tremayne says:

    Loved the podcast Rich……. Loved where you and Luke ‘travelled’ to in the conversation.
    Love the conversation on ‘inspiration’….. Big difference between inspiring and motivating.

  • Jason says:

    Seems to be a theme here w/RRP: OCD and extreme.
    I call it binary worldview, a one or a zero. Nothing in between

    It’s either no beers or 100 beers. Alcoholic or total abstinence
    Extreme slothfulness or run 100 miles everyday
    Unemployed and not working or work 100 hour weeks as an entrepreneur
    Extreme fast food junkie or near dietary perfection
    Total obesity or ITU body
    Dark depression or sky high joy
    Not a tea drinker but a tea monk

    I’m more of an even-keel kind of guy but maybe this is what makes RRP so interesting. I don’t think even-keel makes for good radio.

  • Tommy F says:

    Interesting chap.. definitely an “outlier”, doing extraordinary things.. but gosh, the rambling on through this podcast was a bit dizzying. Kinda felt more like a Forest Gump bus-stop chat through memory lane, than a self-discovery podcast. That being said, I still enjoyed it 🙂


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