People who shun a life of comfort and push to their own physical extremes

Over the decades, this newspaper and other media outlets have charted the way in which our world has got gradually safer.

Friday, 1st March 2019, 11:12 pm
Updated Saturday, 2nd March 2019, 1:45 am
News Letter editorial

From road deaths to house fires to multiple other risks, the chance of being seriously injured or killed has gone steadily downwards. Travelling abroad now is far safer too, in dangers such as disease.

Yet almost as if to compensate for the greater security and comfort that this brings, many people are shunning a life of ease and push themselves to the extreme.

The Co Antrim explorer Leon McCarron has done feats such as walk 1,000 miles, Jerusalem to Mount Sina.

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Last year Shirley Thompson, from Northern Ireland, tried to become the oldest woman to row an Ocean solo.

Today we report on Michael Chandler, who is an enthusiast for so-called Ironman triathlons. These brutal events involve not only running a marathon, but cycling 112 miles (further than Belfast to Dublin) and swimming 2.4 miles (akin to Holywood to Whiteabbey).

Numerous other Ulster folk have now cycled across America or swum the English Channel.

A lot of these people are almost addicted to physical fitness. But there are much worse things to be addicted to.

They are traversing the world or testing their own physical limits in innovative ways and will always be able to treasure their achievement. And those of us who are not so motivated will enjoy reading about their adventures.