TWO hometown athletes showed their mettle as they each set personal-best times on a gruelling course around Bolton.

Lostock AC’s Colin Gregory completed the 2.4-mile swim, 112-mile cycle and 26.2-mile run in 10hrs 31.43mins to cross the finishing line in 76th place overall, a performance that delighted him as he prepares for a well-earned rest this week.

Colin’s personal record time is all the more impressive as it came after a slow – by his standards and expectations, and not those of mere mortals – swim, getting to the first changeover in 1hr 23 mins.

“I’m really pleased with my 10.31.43, that’s a good time and I’m pleased with it,” said Colin, from Horwich. “I thought I could do a 10.30 but I had a bad swim, I did 1.23 for that so after the swim I thought it might be a struggle.

“I thought I could still get under 11 hours but I wanted a 10.30.

“I think this is my eighth Ironman, and probably six of them have been in Bolton. This is my best time, I PB’d it last year and PB’d it this year again. I’m happy, especially after the swim that started it off, so I had an awesome bike and an awesome run.”

Colin admits he was pleasantly surprised by the enthusiasm of those turning out to support and, ahead of jetting off for a family holiday today, was spurred on to a great time.

“The crowds were fantastic,” he said. “The support they gave us going up Chorley New Road and down outside Bolton School and outside The Retreat is awesome, and even more so when you’re coming through here in the town centre to the finish.

“Babylon Lane in Adlington is fantastic when you’re on the bike too.

“I’m really pleased, I’m just trying to get to my family now, once I do that we’ll go and get something to eat then have a beer at The Retreat.

“We go to Spain tomorrow. so I’m sure I’ll recover there.

“I might need wheelchair assistance to get on the plane though, to be fair.”

Meanwhile, Tri Rivington athlete Matthew Wilson will be resting his aching limbs today and tomorrow, after completing the course in just over 11 hours.

Although he had aimed to go under that benchmark he had strong showings in each of the three disciplines, to come home in 11:10:41 and in 170th place.

“I’m happy with my time, it’s 45 minutes off my personal best so I’m pretty chuffed with that,” he told The Bolton News.

“This is the second I’ve done, I wanted to go under 11 hours so I’m a little bit disappointed with 11:10 but overall I’m pretty pleased.

“I was happy with my swim, I did that in just over an hour, and then the bike and the run were both PBs so I can’t complain really.”

Matthew was also buoyed by the Boltonians’ backing and says the support he received made what is, even by Ironman standards, an arduous event for competitors.

“The crowd is mega,” he added. “It’s the best thing about it and the main reason you do it because the actual event is brutal but you just forget about that and remember the support, it’s crazy.

“I’m a member of Tri Rivington, I think there are 42 of us that have taken part today, I think one came in before me but I’ve not seen him to see what time he got yet.

“You are probably looking at training for 20 to 30 hours a week coming up to an event like this, it’s a lot but when you get days like this it makes it all worth it – I might change my mind about that tomorrow when I wake up though!

“Luckily I’ve got tomorrow and Tuesday off work so we’ll see how I go.”