A man has completed 22 Olympic distance triathlons in one week in memory of his brother who was killed in a gang-related knife attack in Croydon.

Mark Jones, 44, claims he has broken the world record for the number of triathlons completed in a singular week and is now waiting for the official announcement from the Guinness Book of Records.

He completed the 22 triathlons, which each consist of a 1500m swim, a 40k bike and 10k run, late on Sunday, July 24 in Windsor.

Mark explained that he had struggled to come to terms with the death of his brother and “wanted to do something special in his memory”.

Thursday, August 18, marked the 15th anniversary of the death of his brother Steven who was 23 years old when he was killed in a gang-related knife attack in Croydon.

Mark was the second of five children, all boys, who grew up in Croydon on a local authority housing estate.

He explained that criminal activity was rife with mainly gang-related violence and drug dealing.

Mark explained: “Croydon has got a reputation for gangs and knife crime, but I suppose any place where you go to it's got little problem pockets.

“With some council estates you've got that pressure of trying to belong to a gang or people trying to force you into that sort of environment and it's kind of like fighting against the regime to stay out of it.

“Unfortunately, it was a part growing up - you were surrounded by it.

“I think it is worse now because it is every week that you hear about a stabbing or an attack.

“I think more needs to be done in communities because when someone gets attacked or murdered by a knife, it does not just rip families apart, it rips the whole communities and everything apart.

“People then get scared, and I can understand why they carry knives because there is that peer pressure but then they also want to feel protected.

“When someone you know is killed, it just changes your whole perspective on things.

“You become more vigilant and aware of stuff going on around you and then you start suffering from sleepless nights.

“We know what it is like when something tragic like that happens, it just never goes away.

“It's always there.”

Mark decided to use his challenge to raise money for a charity named Steel Warriors, who take seized and surrendered knives from London’s streets, melt them down, and recycle the steel into free outdoor calisthenics gyms.

These spaces are used as community hubs and training centres to support disadvantaged young people.

He has raised £2,380 so far for the charity, which have plans to have a free gym installed in Wandle Park.

Steel Warriors also offers free training at these public gyms, and Mark would like to do the same once he has qualified as a personal trainer.

He explained that it meant a huge deal to him to partner with Steel Warriors for this challenge after what happened to Steven.

Mark said: “I wanted to show young people that whatever hand they are dealt in life, they can achieve their goals, however ambitious and out of reach they may seem.”

Bishopsgate School provided Mark with access to their indoor pool, and he cycled and ran around Windsor Great Park during the triathlons.

He said that his achievement “still has not sank in.”

Mark explained that while he only needed to achieve 20 triathlons to take the world record, he decided to smash it by an additional two to try and ensure that he could hold on to the award.

He said: “I thought 20 is too much of a target for someone to try and have a go at, so we decided to push for 22.

“I reckon that record will stand for quite a while because I know how hard it was to do it on the amount of sleep that I had.

“You are literally up at 4.40am every morning “We were meant to do four on the Monday and four on the Tuesday, but we had to drop one each day because of the heat.

“Sleep wise I was getting around three and half hours each day and eating wise I was just snacking in between events as I just did not have the time to have a substantial meal until the evening.

“I was burning 1600 calories per event.

“On one section where I was on the bike, I had a car following me and they told me that I was doing 40 miles per hour during that section.

“In terms of the obstacles we faced, we had the unbelievable heat, then it flooded on the Wednesday so that made the roads all greasy.

“I came off the bike at 25-30 miles per hour and the bike was in pieces so that had to be repaired.

“I was sat there looking up at the sky at triathlon number nine thinking we still have another 13 to go – but we did it.”

You can donate to Steel Warriors and find out more about Mark's 22 triathlons here.