Athletes across the world were in Bolton to take part in one of the toughest Ironman course.

Hundreds lined the route to cheer on the competitors who were up at dawn for the triathlon - which they dived straight into with a 2.4mile swim in Pennington Flash, followed by a 112 miles cycle ride finishing with a marathon run.

First to cross the line was George Martindale from Blackrod cross the finishing line in front of a large crowd with a time 9:38:30.

He told The Bolton News: "I’m absolutely over the moon."

The first woman to cross the line was Dee Allen with a finishing time 11:17:43.

She said: "It’s my first Ironman so it couldn’t have gone any better.

"The crowd in Bolton was amazing."

Mayor of Bolton Cllr Akhtar Zaman said: "It’s brilliant for Bolton. It raises Bolton’s profile on an international level and it brings this huge crowd to Bolton.

"It’s good for Bolton overall, it’s good for Bolton’s economy and it’s good for the people.

"I’ve really enjoyed it. It’s been a great day."

Cllr Martyn Cox, leader of Bolton Council said: "I think it’s fantastic. We’ve got perfect weather, we’ve got huge crowds here in Bolton. All our hotels are full up.

"It’s big event for Bolton and it gives a real boost to the local economy, so I’m really thrilled about today.

"Businesses feel the benefit of this as well, so we’re really pleased that IRONMAN have signed up for another five years. It’s great news.

"They’re amazing. When you look at what they have to do.  I mean, when you look at it, you think that’s impossible to do in a day. But some of them are doing it in nine hours. They’re incredible athletes, all of them.

"And no, I’m not tempted to do it myself.

"We’ve got people doing it who are in their 70s, so it can be done.

"It is for everybody. It’s not just an elite event, this, it’s for local people as well. I’m really pleased that local people get involved and get involved in the spirit of it.’