AN IT expert has successfully become an Ironman.

Simon Turtington joined more than 2,000 athletes from around the globe to take part in the ultimate endurance race and the UK’s 10th annual Ironman challenge.

The dad-of-three from Lowton completed the 140.6 mile course in 12 hours and 48 minutes and raised more than £3,000 for Francis House Children’s Hospice in Manchester.

“It was an unbelievable day, a truly unforgettable and amazing experience. The swim was horrific, being in a mass start of more than 2,000 people in open water. One bloke compared it to being in a washing machine,” said the 39-year-old.

“The bike leg was enjoyable. I didn’t have any mechanical failures or punctures which before the race was a big fear for me. There were some bad crashes - one guy I saw literally had the shirt ripped off his back when he came off down a fast descent.

“The marathon was really tough. Miles 20 to 25 was an arduous battle with my mind. However after mile 25 I knew I was going to finish and literally I felt all the aches and pains leave my body. It was like someone had flicked a switch.

“The run down the finishing chute and being announced as an ironman was a magical moment. Thanks to my supporters I’ve raised more than £3,000, a tremendous amount for a great charity.”

The race began at 6am with a 2.4 mile swim at Pennington Flash in Leigh, followed by a 112-mile cycle around Lancashire and a 26.2 mile marathon finishing in Bolton.

Simon provides IT services for Champion Accountants whose managing director Ged Cosgrove said: “Those that rise to the Ironman challenge are not ordinary but extraordinary and I was delighted to see Simon cross the finish line and complete one of the world’s toughest long-distance races.”

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