Award presentation for Ironman victors

Dean Ramsden might have ended up in a wheelchair

Richard Smith had his bike stolen

Dave Clamp with his medal

First published in News The Bolton News: Photograph of the Author by , reporter

AS victorious Ironmen flocked to the Macron Stadium for a special awards event — councillors and business owners hailed it a bumper weekend for Bolton.

Thousands of competitors attended yesterday’s awards after they swam, cycled and ran their way to the finish line in Victoria Square on Sunday.

Bolton Council said the event was expected to bring in an estimated £2.6 million into the local economy.

Cllr John Byrne, the council’s cabinet member for culture, said: “This was another amazing weekend of sport — it was brilliant to see so many people lining the streets to give the athletes a fantastic welcome. The event is a Bolton tradition and we look forward to its return again next year.”

Businesses in the town centre also reaped the benefits of the thousands of people who flocked to the town centre.

Chris Taylor, manager of Tiffany’s in the Square, based in Victoria Square, said: “We had lots more customers over the weekend and it was great to see the town centre busy.”

And two Bolton men were celebrating after completing the race. Dean Ramsden, aged 46, was competing just seven years after being diagnosed with a crippling illness that had left him unable to walk.

The dad-of-two from Horwich completed the race in under 16 hours and reflected on what he described as an “amazing achievement”. He said: “Seven years ago I was contemplating life in a wheelchair, so it was a huge deal for me to complete the Ironman.

“I knew the swim was going to be the hardest bit because my back is still curved from the condition and I wasn’t helped when my goggles snapped at the start — I had a spare pair.

“The crowds on the day were unbelievable and it was a really emotional moment when I crossed the finish line.”

Another Ironman arriving at the Macron was Richard Smith, who had his bike stolen just weeks before the event.

The 30-year-old, who is from Bolton but now lives on a barge, posted a time of 13 hours and 28 minutes.

He said: “My new bike served me well — although I couldn’t wait to get off it. It wasn’t ideal having the bike that I had trained on stolen so close to the race, but I’m over it and was chuffed with my time.”

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