'I weighed 18 stone, couldn't swim and didn't own a bike, but I still did Ironman'
AN IRONMAN competitor who once weighed 18 stone is using his experiences to inspire others.
Andy Holgate, a 40-year-old librarian, could not swim, did not own a bike and had two dodgy knees when he signed up to take on the hardest endurance race in the world.
This year he took part in the 2.4-mile open-water swim, followed by a 112-mile bike ride, and then a 26.2-mile run.
He has chronicled his battle to fitness and penned two books, ‘Can’t Swim, Can’t Ride, Can’t Run’ and ‘Can’t Sleep, Can’t Train, Can’t Stop’.
In 2012 Mr Holgate’s first book was nominated for a British Sports Book Award as Best New Writer. His battle to fitness started seven years ago and he has now lost three stone and taken part in five Ironman triathlons in England, Germany and Lanzarote.
And now he is speaking about his experiences in a bid to encourage others to follow his lead.
His most recent appearance was at Bolton Central Library. Mr Holgate, from Lancaster, said: “The talk went really well, there were a lot of people there.
“I’m very proud that that I can inspire people from all over the world.
“The key is to get past that barrier of ‘I can’t do it’. Once you believe in yourself, you can do it.”
Athletes completed the gruelling course in Bolton on August 4.
Thousands of spectators turned out to cheer on the entrants along the course.
Entries for next year’s competition, which will take place on Sunday, July 20, sold out within days.
It will be the 10th anniversary Ironman — and the sixth time it has been held in Bolton — and organisers have promised it will be bigger than ever.
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