FOR months, they have followed strict training regimes in preparation for a gruelling test of physical and mental strength and endurance.
But the big day is almost here for hundreds of triathletes who will descend on Bolton this Sunday for Ironman UK, including mother-of-one Laura Anderton.
The 26-year-old is currently juggling motherhood, her job as a solicitor and training up to 12 hours a week ahead of the Pennington Flash 2.4-mile open water swim, 112-mile bike ride and marathon-distance run.
Every week, Miss Anderton, company solicitor at Travel Counsellors, Churchgate, goes for two pre-work 6.30am swims at Bolton One, to a lunchtime spinning class at V1ntage Health and Wellness Studio, Knowsley Street, between three and five times, one run of up to two hours, a long cycle ride every other week, as well as interval training.
She has been able to dedicate time to training thanks to help from her family, caring for her three-year-old daughter.
From running as a youngster to regularly participating in 5km and 10km events, she completed her first Horwich triathlon in May, in under three hours.
She is raising money for Reuben’s Retreat, formed by Tameside couple Mike and Nicola Graham whose 23-month-old son Reuben died of a rare and aggressive cancer in 2012. They aim to raise £1 million to build a retreat for children battling the disease.
Miss Anderton said: “I have always enjoyed running but I was very much a novice in the pool and on the bike.
“I have had to train with an intensity far greater than that I have experienced previously to get myself race-fit in all three disciplines, but I was delighted to finish Horwich and the race spurred me on to test myself further.
“Ironman is a challenge in every sense but, having been inspired myself by friends in Australia who have completed Ironman competitions, I was determined to take it on.
“I am mentally tough and physically fitter than I have ever been — I can’t wait to pit myself against the cream of the crop and, above all else, to raise money for a fabulous cause.” Miss Anderton, who lives in Warrington, will take part in the challenge with co-owner of V1ntage, Gareth Price, from Walkden, as well as members Zoe Nightingale and Ian Morgan.
Competitors can expect to burn up to 20,000 calories during the course and feed stations will be set up to hand out items including sports drinks, energy bars, bananas, savoury snacks and water.
They have a strict time limit of 17 hours to complete the long-distance triathlon and Bolton town centre will see hundreds of supporters cheering them on throughout Sunday.
Rhode Island Coffee, Knowsley Street, will be backing Miss Anderton and the Reuben’s Retreat team on the day, with extended opening hours to provide a base for supporters and team members.
To sponsor Miss Anderton, visit justgiving.com/Laura-Andie.