THIEVES have ruined the training regime of an amateur athlete just weeks before he takes part in Bolton’s Ironman event.

Richard Smith, who is from Bolton but who now lives on a barge, had been training for 20 hours a week.

Much of Mr Smith’s training has taken place in and around Bolton, where the event will take place.

But now his bike has been stolen he cannot train.

He is in the process of travelling to Bolton on his barge in time for the gruelling endurance event on July 20.

This will be the 30-year-old’s first Ironman challenge and he said he is “gutted” to have had to buy a new bike just two weeks before the big day.

The theft took place after he had begun his journey from Wakefield in Yorkshire to Bolton and had stopped in Appeley Bridge near Bradford. Mr Smith had left the £600 bike in the back of his van and discovered thieves had broken into the vehicle and stolen it.

He said: “It wasn’t the best bike in the world but the worst thing is it is the one I have been training on for the past 12 weeks, doing 20 hours a week, so I am really used to it.

“For this to happen with just weeks to go is a real blow. I have had to go out and buy a new bike which I will now have to get used to.”

The former Bolton resident, who lived in Crompton Way, is raising funds for Macmillan Cancer Care and has already collected about half of his £1,000 target.

He said: “There isn’t a specific personal reason why I’m raising money for Macmillan, I just know it is a great charity and a very worthwhile cause, if anyone could donate on my page that would be brilliant.”

The Ironman event is made up of a 2.4 mile open water swim, a 112 mile bike ride and a 26.2 mile run to be completed one after the other in less than 17 hours.

To donate to Mr Smith’s fundraising page, visit