Lake District triathlon attracts 400 competitors as Cumbria soaks up the sun
A GRUELLING triathlon which sees participants tackle everything the Lake District can throw at them has been hailed a huge success.
Hundreds of extreme sports enthusiasts - including a strong contingent from south Cumbria - descended on the Lake District yesterday.
They were taking part in a 2.4-mile swim in Derwentwater, a 112-mile bike ride up the Cumbrian coast, and a marathon around Keswick.
The event started at 6am as the athletes entered Derwentwater for the swim.
People arrived in Keswick over the weekend to take part, after the event won rave reviews for its inaugural year in 2016, being named one of the top five triathlons in the country.
A crowd gathered to wish them well on their mammoth endeavour.
The Lakesman was started by Susan Leighton, mayor of Keswick.
Rebecca Stamper, is swim manager for the event. She is assistant manager for sport, art and leisure for Allerdale council.
She chose the route for the Lakesman and co-ordinated the first section of the event.
She said: "The atmosphere was great. I was working on registration and you have everyone from die hard competitors to those who are doing it for the first time and setting themselves a challenge."
The first swimmer was back in just 51 minutes. With the temperature rising as the day wore on, the conditions were tough. At least four people were forced to retire.
The first bike back from the 112-mile ride around west Cumbria was ridden by Joe Duckworth, of Chorley.
Crowds lined the road leading to the transition area for the athletes to return on their cycles, including the families of Ulverston Triathlon Club's Mark Swainson, Chris Durkin and Ben Park.
Lakesman was the trio's first triathlon and also formed part of Ben's 40th birthday celebrations, which will see him undertake several challenges.
Their families said they were really proud of them.
The winner of the Lakesman was Joe Duckworth, of Chorley, who finished in nine hours and 15 minutes.
A seasoned triathlete, who often races abroad, he said he had friends around the course to hand him ice to help keep him cool.
The second man across the line was Paul Rodger, of Ulverston Triathlon Club.
This was his eighth iron man distance race. He finished in nine hours and 46 minutes.
Paul, 43, of Barrow, said: "I can't believe it - I thought I was 15th. Everything just came together."
He has been training almost every day for eight months.
"I'd like to say a big thank you to my family for their support. I couldn't have done this without them."
Event director Marie Whitehead, of CN Events, said: "Congratulations to our winner and everyone who took part - you are all truly Lakesmen and women.
"I'd like to thank our 300 volunteers and the staff who helped make the event possible."
Medals were handed out to the finishers by Mary Bainbridge, mayor of Allerdale.
See www.nwemail.co.uk for more photos from the event.