INTERNATIONAL triathlete Gary Wilson faced a gruelling test of 500 metres swimming, a 114-mile bike ride and a marathon – one after another.
The 35-year-old from Clavering took on the gruelling ironman endurance challenge at the TT Triathlon, in the Isle of Man.
And his superb time of 10 hours and 34 minutes, including a marathon best in an ironman of three hours and 25 minutes after the swim and ride, resulted in a third place finish, just 18 minutes behind the race winner.
And as well as facing the punishing distances, Gary and the other competitors had to face gusts of more than 20mph when they were on the bike.
“It was quite a small field of people racing, mainly because it was that brutal,” said Gary, a member of Hartlepool Triathlon Club.
“I have been going well all this year and finishing off with a PB in the marathon was good, I was really pleased with that.”
The 500m swim to get the race underway was actually shorter than planned. The swim in the ironman distance is usually 3.8k but had to be shortened due to freezing temperatures in the water.
Gary, who works as a youth engagement officer for Hartlepool Borough Council, has represented Great Britain and was selected for the aquathlon world championships later this year, but unfortunately he’s had to pull out due to an ankle ligament niggle he picked up in the Isle of Man.
Gary, a dad-of-two who is married to Vicki, 33, explained his mindset when he takes on such challenging races.
He added: “I just focus on one bit at a time. I try not to look beyond the swim until I’ve finished the swim and it’s the same when I’m on the bike.”