An Irishman has won the title of toughest man in the world. Gerry Duffy, 42, claimed the title when he came first in the UK’s Deca Ironman Challenge, awarded after ten days of increasingly difficult endurance events.

Duffy, a former chain smoker, crossed the finishing line late on Sunday night, 19 accumulated hours ahead of his remaining competitors. Just three of the original 20 entrants actually completed the race.

At heart the Deca Ironman Challenge is a long-distance triathlon consisting of about 18 hours of swimming, cycling and running every day for 10 days.

Duffy, from Mullingar, told the Irish Times: 'I’m just grateful to have finished it, and also, I guess, that I don’t have to do it again in the morning.'

Duffy works as a motivational speaker and personal trainer, and began working out in 1995 when he was overweight and smoking 50 cigarettes a day.

He was inspired to lose weight after seeing a photo of himself which he claimed he barely recognized.

Participants unable to complete the Deca Ironman course in 22 hours each day were disqualified. Duffy stood out for his determination and strength from start to finish.

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