Action PR meets the EtchRock Elite Luke Tyburski

Action PR meets the EtchRock Elite Luke Tyburski

EtchRock Elites bring together a select group of individuals from across globe who are redefining what it means to challenge themselves. They are taking on the world’s toughest challenges and constantly pushing the boundaries of what we believe is humanly possible. By creating a community of inspiring individuals, EtchRock hopes to motivate the masses and inspire the next generation of EtchRock Elites.

We were fortunate to attend the official EtchRock Elites launch, were we heard fascinating and inspiring speakers from the programme talk about their challenges and tell their stories. We got the chance to catch up with one of the Elites, Luke Tyburski.

In the final three years of his football career, Luke suffered from depression and sustained numerous injuries. After tearing his calf muscle, he signed up to the infamous ‘Marathon des Sables’ and what he achieved is something quite remarkable.

Action PR: Loving the head gear Luke! (Luke sports a colourful propeller cap)

Luke Tyburski: Every time I run, I always have this propeller cap – it’s like my trademark. I started wearing it for a bit of fun. What I realised is that people would see me run and it would make them smile. So now I wear it every time I run now. More people know me with the hat, then without!

APR: tell us about the moment when you signed up for the marathon des Sables.

LT: The day I signed up I was a footballer that morning, then I got injured and after three years of battling non-stop injuries, battling depression, I hobbled home to ice my leg. Then, for some crazy reason, I remember this race that my friend told me about years before and I googled it – I had never even run a 10K before in my life but I was convinced that in six months, I could turn from a broken down footballer to an ultra-runner.

APR: Did you do your research?

LT: I tested a lot of kit. I went through 17 pairs of socks and three pairs of socks before I figured out what I wanted to wear. I spoke to a few people who had done the race. I told this one guy, that I wanted to finish in the top 50. In the marathon des sables, you can send an email once a day. But the guy I spoke to said, if you want to finish in the top 50, you come home, put your feet up and you rest. You don’t go line up for three hours to send an email.

APR: Let’s talk about your adventure after MDS, Morocco to Monaco, did you actually just look at a map?

LT: I was staring at a world map and the only thing I had on my mind was adventure. Then I saw this little gap between Morocco and Spain and I thought, maybe I could swim that?! Then I thought, right so what’s next? Then I saw the coastline of the South East of Spain and I went Maybe I could cycle that? I wanted to inspire people to live life because I wasn’t doing that for a very long time. I was suffering with depression, which at the time, I didn’t know I was suffering from. I know what not living is like.

APR: Who did you reach out to at that point?

LT: I reached out to a therapist. I went for about four years without speaking to anyone else apart from them. I didn’t tell any other friends or anything like that. I kept it quiet. I think for athletes there’s a lot of stigma, because athletes are meant to be seen as strong and tough because they are physically fit and a lot of athletic sports focus on mental toughness. There’s a lot of stigma surrounding mental health and weakness. A lot of people suffer in silence. I think federations and clubs can do a lot more, and that is why I’m so passionate about speaking out.

APR: So back to The Ultimate Triathlon – Talk me through the highs and lows of the challenge from initial swim to the gruelling finish.

LT: The bike got really tough because I actually passed out whilst cycling. When I got off the bike, I was so happy to run. I put my propeller cap on and off I went. When I eventually got onto this roundabout that signified the entrance to Monaco, I knew that my life would never be the same. What I achieved is something that I’m truly proud of. In life, you get setbacks, you set goals, you have fear, and you have to adjust that fear. Have to reflect, have no fear of failure.

For more information, about EtchRock and the EtchRock Elites programme visit and connect with Luke on twitter.