DAMON Hesford has no fears about finishing the Bolton’s gruelling Ironman UK – after completing his first year of teaching.

Hesford teaches English at Thornleigh Salesian College and insists it has been the perfect preparation for Sunday’s energy-sapping triathlon event.

“You have to be mentally strong to do well in teaching and the same applies to doing an Ironman,” said the 25-year-old from Halliwell.

“There are certainly some similarities and you have to be very determined to achieve both.

“There are times, whether it’s in the classroom or out competing, where you just have to block everything out and get on with it.”

Hesford was inspired to start training after watching last year’s Ironman on his doorstep.

The former Sharples pupil has completed several triathlons but believes the support he will receive in his home town will see him through.

He said: “It will be really special. I’ve done triathlons before where my girlfriend or mum have come along to support me and you get an odd clap here or there.

“But this time I will have loads of family and friends cheering me on, even some of my pupils have said they will come down, and that will keep me going.

“When I told my pupils I was doing it they were like “What, you sir?” but I think they’re quite impressed.

“I quite often see some of them when I’m out running and they always shout their support – well I think that’s what they’re shouting.”

Hesford, who is raising money for Kevin Davies’s Kids of Bolton charity, admits it has not been easy combining work with training.

But the big Wanderers fan thinks crossing the finishing line in his beloved Bolton shirt will make it all worthwhile.

“It has been difficult juggling Ironman training with my first year of teaching,”

he said.

“It’s a huge commitment and, when I’ve had a really tough day, then had to do all my marking and plan the next lesson, the last thing you want to do is go out and train.

“But I do find the training a lot of fun as well and the thought of finishing Ironman in my Wanderers shirt is what drives me on.”