A full-time professional athlete from Salford and a double Olympic medal-winning student competed in yesterday’s Ironman triathlon event in Bolton.
In a gruelling test of human endurance – comprising a 2.4 mile swim, a 112 mile cycling course, and a 26.2 mile marathon – Paul Hawkins, 31, finished third in the men’s event with a time of 9:07.50, just under 15 minutes behind winner Daniel Halksworth.
In the women’s event, Rebecca Romero, currently studying an MSc in Sports and Exercise Nutrition Science at the University of Chester, is the first British athlete to win Olympic medals in two different sports.
Romero finished a respectable sixth place with a time of 11:10.02, just over an hour behind winner Eimear Mullan.
She said: “When I signed up to do this seven months ago I just wanted to give a triathlon a go. I always want to do the best I possibly can and get the most out of myself.
“This has been a fantastic experience – the atmosphere and camaraderie out there was awesome.”
Romero, a silver medalist in the rowing quadruple sculls in Athens in 2004 and a gold medalist in the cycling individual pursuit in Beijing in 2008, was competing in her first Ironman event and recorded the fastest female bike split.
Speaking of the four-day event which had 1500 entries, Kevin Stewart, Managing Director of Ironman Britain and Ireland, applauded the spectacle and the support of both the local community and the council.
Mr Stewart said: “We would like to congratulate all the athletes that took part who have each put in a phenomenal amount of dedication to make it to the start line.
“Bolton provides a superb platform for staging such an iconic race and together with the support of Bolton Town Council, our partners and the incredible 500 volunteers out on the course, without whom the event would not be possible.”
For more information about the event visit http://www.ironmanuk.com/