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Watch: Fabio Spiteri ready for second shot at Quintuple challenge

Looking to collect €100,000 for animal shelters

In recent years, Fabio Spiteri has made a name for himself by taking on some daunting challenges.

The experienced triathlete has managed some impressive feats over the years which has seen him go from successfully completing an ironman to setting sights on even more challenging feats such as finishing a double ironman, a triple ironman and most recently managing to ride almost 1,000km around Sicily in just under two days.

But Spiteri is still hungry for more and tomorrow he is set to undertake an even bigger challenge as he plans to take part in the Quintuple – which sees participants racing in five consecutive ironman races in Colmar, France.

Video: Jonathan Borg

“This is a World Cup race that has seen only 16 athletes from around the world apply for it and I will be the only Maltese on the starting line,” Spiteri said.

“This race is called the quintuple which means athletes have to take on five ironmans one after each other. Participants have to swim 19 kilometres, which is like swimming from Malta to Gozo for three times, cycle a 900km route, which is equivalent to riding around Sicily, before finishing off with five full marathons for a distance of 211 kilometres.

“Every participant has to complete this race under the five-day cut-off time. Athletes cannot sleep overnight but are trained to take power naps which sees them sleep between 45 minutes and one hour to recharge their body.”

For Spiteri, this is his second attempt at the quintuple after his first shot a few years ago was ended by a stomach bug.

“This is my second attempt for a quintuple. Before the COVID-19 pandemic I had taken part in a similar race but I committed a mistake when I drank water from a stream and unfortunately there was some bacteria in the water that forced me to retire with a stomach bug as I had ended up dehydrated.

“That disappointment increased my motivation to give it another shot and this time I analysed the mistakes I committed in the past and trained even harder to ensure I finish the challenge.

“Six months ago, I successfully completed the Round of Sicily Bike Ride under two days and that was a great indication that I was in good form and kept training hard and now we’ll see what happens in this year’s race.”

Spiteri said that challenges such as the quintuple cannot be completed unless an athlete passes through years of preparation.

“To undertake such tough challenges, the body of an athlete goes through a huge stress, both physically and mentally,” Spiteri said.

“It’s not like you wake up one day and say I want to do a quintuple. One must pass through a process that lasts several years.

“I had a progression in the kind of races I did. I started with a half ironman and then took part in ten ironman races before proceeding to a double ironman, triple ironman and now I’m bidding for the quintuple.

“You need to give your body the chance to get stronger and recover both physically and mentally after undertaking a huge overload. If one skips one stage of this process and say from an ironman one goes for a triple ironman instead of a double ironman, then you are going to have physical and mental problems and your body will not become stronger.

“An athlete’s mind and body have to be mature enough to take such a huge challenge.”

Noble cause

Spiteri says that he is undertaking the quintuple challenge for a noble cause as he is bidding to collect a record amount of funds that will go for 29 animal shelters around Malta and Gozo.

“I have two passions in my life, sport and animals,” Spiteri said.

“I love animals a lot, in fact at home I have 13 pets. At present animal shelters are passing through a difficult time as after COVID-19 many people are taking animals back to them and they have ended up full of animals and are struggling to cater for all of them.

“Every year, I organise a major event to collect donations for these animal shelters.

“Given that I am embarking on a very big challenge I am targeting a record sum – €100,000 – that will be split among 29 shelters.

“I appeal all the people to help me in this noble cause so we can help these animal

shelters that are doing such a sterling job throughout the year.”

Anyone interested in giving donations for this cause can do so as follows: Revolut: +356 99816248; Paypal: [email protected]; SMS donations €2.33 | 50617312; €4.66 | 50618075; €6.99 | 50618923; €11.65 | 50619260; Bank Transfer: BOV IBAN : MT40VALL22013000000050010082877.

Hill’s Pet Nutrition are the main sponsors behind Fabio Spiteri’s quintuple challenge.

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