Local lad and winner of Ironman UK said he felt like a celebrity crossing the finishing line after completing the gruelling 2.4mile swim, 112 miles and 26.2 mile run.

George Martindale from Blackrod crossed 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.

"I’m from Bolton, I live in Blackrod, I used to live in Horwich, so all my friends and family, as you can see – I felt like a celebrity today. It’s something I’ll never forget.

The Bolton News: Male winner George Martindale. Credit: Danny Crompton.Male winner George Martindale. Credit: Danny Crompton.

“I knew that many people - there was somebody all around the course, and with me doing quite well everybody was up for the support.

"That last three miles – honest to God, I’m glad I had a bit of a lead because that was horrendous. I can’t put into words how bad it was.

"But you look around – first, last and everyone in between. Everyone is in a world of pain.

"Every credit to every athlete who gets on the start line."

The first woman to cross the line was Dee Allen, who also live locally - practically five minutes from the starting point at Pennington Flash. She finished with a time 11:17:43.

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

The Bolton News: Female winner Dee Allen. Credit: Phil Taylor.Female winner Dee Allen. Credit: Phil Taylor.

"The crowd in Bolton was amazing.

"Swim, bike and run – I just worked as hard as I could. The win's a bonus, really.

"The crowd gives a massive boost of adrenaline and a massive motivational boost. It’s absolutely awesome.

"I’ve never raced with such and amazing crowd, so I’d like to thank them. They were absolutely awesome.

"Thank you, Bolton."

On a day that saw spells of grey skies and rain, the sun came out to welcome the athlete’s home in front of the town hall steps.

Many of the athletes desribed a tough but brillaint course, and all mentioned the crowds throughout the day who kept them going with their encouragement.

Jack Schofield, who came second in the men's race said: "Amazing course. The spectators are nothing shy of phenomenal."

The Bolton News: Third place male Daniel McParland. Credit: Danny CromptonThird place male Daniel McParland. Credit: Danny Crompton

Third-placed in the male category, Daniel McParland said: "It’s amazing. I’ve been in the North West Triathlon community for almost two decades so I know so many people from so many clubs. Every half a mile it was ‘go Dan, go Dan’ and it’s amazing. It really helps."

He added: "It was one of the best days ever. It was awesome. I’m going to have a beer."