Paul Lacey and Melonie Crompton, of Lostock AC, achieved the biggest sporting accomplishments of their lives by successfully competing in Ironman UK.

Lacey, whose sporting journey started with rugby, took the plunge and started running five years ago and joined Lostock.

It was then he met the late Alan Mather who gave him the inspiration to complete Ironman.

Mather lost his life to cancer before Lacey completed the Ironman on Sunday, but his faith gave Lacey the determination to keep going and train to do it.

His swim started off strong but on the second lap he took a hefty thump to the head which made him take in water and sent his goggles flying.

Quickly composing himself, he put his goggles back on and continued.

On the first bike loop, Lacey felt good and rode it in the big ring to keep the pace, knowing it would be tight for cut-off if anything happened, but also knew it was risky.

On the second loop, he could start to feel a full pain as he climbed Smithills so knew the third was going to be rough and it did not disappoint.

At the end of the bike run, he was sore and could not wait to get off. With the running gear on, the first half marathon went okay but he was struggling to take on any more food and drink - his stomach was in knots and he wanted to be sick.

On the third lap he slowed down, knowing it was all about the red carpet now and he could feel it.

The fourth lap was mainly a walk, his stomach really hurting now but he knew he could get there and he said he felt this overwhelming sense of achievement.

He went under the arch and heard the words ‘Paul Lacey you are an Ironman’.

He choked and nearly cried at the sacrifice for not just him, but his family, coach and friends and most of all his wife Sarah and all the people who gave up their day to support him and help get him through it.

He said: “I’ve achieved something beyond my dreams but broke myself in the process.”