Made of steel: Ironman UK

Gary Bradwell, in training for national Iron Man competition.
Gary Bradwell, in training for national Iron Man competition.
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A man who had not been on a bike since childhood, was an amatuer swimmer, and weighed 16-stone, eight-months ago, is preparing to compete in one of the biggest endurance triathlon events in the world.

Ex Royal Marine turned college public services lecturer Gary Bradwell, 33, of Elland, is physically and mentally psyching himself up to compete in Ironman UK.

In a world series of ultra-distance triathlon events taking place in and around Bolton, August 4, Gary will consecutively complete a 2.4mile lake swim; a 112mile bike route; finishing with a 26.2mile marathon run. To achieve Ironman status all endurance tests must be completed within 17 hours.

Gary, who now weighs a stone and a half less, has logged 2,800 training miles, ran a dozen half marathons, and swam the width of the Humber Bridge in training for the gruelling event.

His mental stamina comes from personal experience.

“I draw on my time in the Marines and the incredibly tough training and difficult times I faced in the services. It’s a massive sacrifice.”

Gary says endurance completion is a personal achievement but he’s using his goal to help others - fundraising for the children’s Make A Wish Foundation. Already having raised £2,000, Gary hopes to raise more through his online page

On the day, 1,500 men will compete. The top five of each age category will be entered into the World Championship.

When it’s over the husband and father-of-two plans to enjoy some family time.