A GRANDAD who volunteers on the Ironman course took up the challenge to complete the triathlon himself this year.

And at the same time David Smith accompanied his son and young grandson in their own Ironman challenges.

David, 58, of Dobb Brow, Westhoughton, and his son Richard, 27, of Royal Court, Bolton, both completed the UK Ironman.

And David’s grandson Henry Dawber, four, of Forest Drive, Westhoughton, a pupil of St Thomas Chequerbent, competed in the Ironkids race on Saturday.

It was David’s first triathlon event and he completed the gruelling swim, cycle and run in 13 hours and 37 minutes.

After the race, the managing director of A&D Joinery said he was amazed the he had been able to complete the course at all.

He explained: “I have looked after a section of the bike course for Ironman UK for a number of years now.

“After last year’s race I was sat with the race director and I commented that it would be easer to do the Ironman than to do what we do to get the race on, to which he replied ‘you have a year off next year and we will give you free entry’.

“I never gave it another thought, then two weeks before Christmas an email came to say, this is your number, you are entered.”

David realised he would have to master front crawl, so he turned to Briea Deany at Ramsbottom Swimming Club for help. He trained with them at Turton School pool every Wednesday.

As Bolton Parkrun runner and a former marathon runner, he concentrated on cycling for training..

“Most weekends I would do a lap of the bike course,” he said.

But he said it was the cheering crowd that carried him to success.

“You have no idea what difference people shouting for you makes for you. If I had tried the day before, without the crowds, I wouldn’t have completed it,” said David.

It was Richard’s fourth Ironman and he completed the triathlon in 10 hours and 35 minutes.