Iain Cowell, from Barnes, near Richmond is completing 40 sporting challenges in celebration of his 40th year.

“I’m having a quiet weekend this weekend,” says Iain, “Just a 100k bike ride on Sunday.”

This doesn’t sound much like a quiet weekend to most of us, but Iain has set himself a remarkable challenge to win 40 medals for his 40th year and he’s donating all the money he raises to Send a Cow.

“Last year my wife, Kate and I did IRONMAN in Wales, which is a 4k swim, a 100k bike ride and a marathon. During the training we became social recluses, yet immediately after we’d finished I wanted to do another one.”

Afterwards Kate said she wanted a year off and instead suggested that Iain take on 40 events in a year to mark his 40th birthday.

Iain is no stranger to competitive events, “back in the day” he was a lightweight rower for team GB.

“I took up rowing when I was 29 and by the time I was 32 I was rowing for England,” says Iain. “I know lots of people from the rowing world and, frankly, we’re all a bit bonkers. "IRONMAN came about because I was looking for a challenge after retiring from rowing, so when I told my ex-team mates about this I wasn’t surprised when a few of them offered to tag along.”

Iain set up a Facebook page to keep people updated with his activity.

“If you’re doing events all the time then you need to keep engaging with people to maintain their interest. The reaction it has provoked really motivates me to keep going.”

Iain’s diet isn’t too rigorous. He hasn’t consciously cut anything and still enjoys a beer (for the carbs), G&T and Summer Pimms for vitamin c! He eats to keep his body fuelled and is still managing to fit in his taxi driver duties for his children.

Iain works full time supporting "pension funds" for Allianz, so his 10km daily cycle to work and back forms part of his weekly training.

So what does it really take to complete 40 events in one year?

“The answer is a lot of commitment. Due to the regularity of the events we’re not really training, we’re just showing up and hitting it hard to see what’s possible. It can take me up to three days to recover from an event, but I’ll get on my bike the following day and go to work. I’ll just be a bit slower than usual.

Oh and Kate’s support is key to the whole process. After all, it was her idea…”

Iain’s final event will be the Bristol to Bath marathon on 25 October, which he’s going to be running dressed as a cow. As you do.