A BOLTON dentist is swapping his scrubs for running gear to train for his first Ironman in July.

For Dr Zuber Bagasi, from Lostock, the 2.4-mile swim, 112-mile cycle ride followed by a 26.2 -mile run is not only a world away from his daily working life as clinical director for the Synergy Dental Group but also literally miles away from the half-marathons he has run so far.

His driving force is to raise sponsorship cash for Bolton Hospice and particularly to become a positive sporting role model for the local Asian community.

“The Ironman route goes right by my house and I’ve watched the competitors in awe for several years,” said Dr Bagasi, aged 36, who was brought up in Halliwell.

“I’ve noticed very few Asian competitors so wanted to try to show that this kind of event is possible and that sport can be a very positive thing in your life.”

When he decided to train for Ironman 2018 last September, he thought he would need “three or four days training a week”. That was before he joined Tri-Rivington and met training expert Ray McGloin.

“Everyone at Tri-Rivington was very welcoming to me but I really had no idea what to expect,” said Dr Bagasi.

“When I first got on my racing bike, I didn’t even know how to put my feet in the cleats and kept falling off. And, although I’ve been training in the swimming pool, I’ve not swum in a reservoir yet.”

Now, he trains daily with the help of the specialist programme Mr McGloin created and a diet from nutritionist Arshad Hafezi. Dr Bagasi has also had to tackle some specific training challenges.

His two experts have created special solutions to the eating and drinking conditions imposed by the religious fasting month of Ramadan just before the Ironman July date.

“Ironman has already taught me so much, especially about myself,” he said. “Now, I just want to do as well as I can – and enjoy it.”

To follow Dr Bagasi and his training and fundraising go to facebook.com/zuber.bagasi

DASHING DENTIST: Dr Zuber Bagasi in training for Ironman 2018