QUALIFIED doctor Lucy Gossage was back working weekends — winning Bolton's gruelling Ironman triathlon for the second time.

The ecstatic 'iron lady' crossed the line with a time of nine hours, 31 minutes and 58 seconds to clinch the women's title — hailing Bolton's brilliant support for pushing her through the gale force winds and pouring rain.

The 35-year-old from Cambridge said: "It was really emotional — even on the first lap I wanted to cry.

"That's why I'm racing here. You can go to hot sunny places but this was proper England today.

"Gale force winds and chucking it down with rain — it's a tough course and a tough day.

"It's not the most glamorous of places to come but I wouldn't change it for the world, the people are brilliant.”

There was an electric atmosphere in the town centre with crowds cheering on the top athletes as they rallied across the finish line after hours of battling not only the tough Bolton course — but the bruising Bolton weather.

Winner of the men's race 'great Scot' David McNamee sauntered to the finish line — shaking hands with fans as he won the men's race in eight hours, 46 minutes and 37 seconds.

The 27-year-old from Ayrshire in Scotland said: "This is my first Ironman UK and the first time I've been to Bolton so to win was a good start.

“I didn’t expect it — it was obviously my aim because I think everybody has to try and aim for the win but realistically I thought I’d be on the podium probably in third place.

“I’ve done one Ironman before in April in South Africa so obviously here in Bolton is the first time I’ve done it in the UK but I’ll be back.

“Thankfully this morning when it started raining and then it was a monsoon, to me it was just a typical weekend in Scotland.

“I don’t think anybody’s used to training in that sort of rain or those conditions. I’m used to the cold so I think that helps you, especially mentally, I think a lot of people’s heads start to go when it’s that bad.

“I started to feel cold at some points but again I’m used to it but I can understand why others would struggle.”

Fraser Cartmell crossed the finish line with a time of eight hours, 51 minutes and six seconds taking second place, followed by Joe Skipper, in third, with a time of eight hours, 55 minutes and 38 seconds.

The first Bolton competitor over the line was Matt Elliston who finished in a time of 10 hours, 34 minutes and 45 seconds.

Bolton firefighter Marc Murphy was the first home of eight Bolton firefighters on the course in a time of 10 hours, 46 minutes and 54 seconds.

He said: "About five years ago I got dragged into it thinking it was a good idea. I wouldn’t recommend it to anyone.

"I am going to say now never again, but I will probably wake up tomorrow and say yes, I’ll do it again.

"There is always a bit of one-up-manship between us all — there is definitely a bravado within the fire service.

"The main thing today was to do about 12 hours because I have not done a massive amount of preparation compared with previous years, however, everything just felt okay.

"I felt good on the bike and started feeling good on the run so I thought I would push it and see what I can do — so I’m made up."