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Ex-Premier League star laid low after four Ironman triathlons in four days

Francis Benali still hopes to restart his charity challenge

A former Premier League footballer’s bid to complete seven Ironman triathlons in seven days has come to a halt due to medical reasons. Francis Benali does however hope to restart his fundraising challenge tomorrow.

Benali, 50, who played more than 300 games for Southampton, launched his “IronFran” charity challenge in Trafford Park in Manchester on Monday.

His aim was to swim 2.4 miles, cycle 112 miles and run a 26.2-mile marathon each day, but the BBC reports that he succumbed after an “agonising” day yesterday.



Benali has undergone a medical assessment and still hopes to restart his challenge tomorrow.

“Please note, this is not Fran quitting,” said a spokesperson. “This is a medical decision. His family and support team have decided they will continue Ironfran on his behalf today – swimming, cycling and running for Franny.”

Benali had already suffered a very close call on Tuesday when a driver ignored a red traffic light and almost crashed into him and the two people he was cycling with.

"It was an unbelievably hairy moment – we could have been killed,” said his coach, Andrew Hartley.

“Franny’s back wheel locked up but he swung a left just behind me. Thankfully the driver saw us at that moment and slammed on her brakes or we would have been across the bonnet of her car. We were very lucky.”

IronFran is the third and final challenge Benali has undertaken in an effort to raise £1m for Cancer Research. In 2016, he ran a marathon and cycled 120km every day for a fortnight.

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