DOCTOR Ben Harris has trained for this year’s Ironman UK in Bolton by cycling to treat his patients.

The medical man has been a GP at Stonehill Medical Centre in Farnworth for the last four years.

And the flying doctor has taken every opportunity he can to get in shape for Sunday’s marathon triathlon.

“I regularly visit patients on my bike anyway so I have good basic fitness,” said Dr Harris, who used to work at Bolton Hospital.

“I think some of them think it’s quite odd to have a doctor arriving on a bike and are a little bit surprised.

“But quite often I can get there quicker than if I were in the car as I know all the short cuts and alleyways.

“I also cycle towork frommy home in Stretford which is an 18-mile round trip.

“I’ve done triathlons in the past but it is the sheer distance of this that makes it so daunting.”

And Dr Harris is on a crusade to get more people to exercise.

The 34-year-old said: “Less than one in 20 people take the recommended amount of exercise.

“I am always trying to encourage patients to ride their bike or walk more.

“It does not always have to be about strenuous exercise at the gym, it’s just about making more of an effort in your daily routinue. I’ve been doing the free 5k run at Leverhulme Park as part of my training, and it’sagreat way toget started.

“They put your time on the internet afterwards and you can follow your progress as you improve your personal best.”

Despite being a fitness fanatic, Dr Harris admits he may be calling on his colleagues as he bids to complete the gruelling course around Bolton.

“They’ll just laugh rather than run and save me,” said the married father of two.

“I cycle a lot so should be okaywith that but the running and swimming is more of a concern.

“I try to go swimming at Salford Quays at least once if not twice a week, but I should do more.

“I’ve been doing a long runof 18 miles every week, as well as a 5k or 10k run as well.”

Dr Harris is raising money for Rotary International.