The 50 years old Chorley father-of-one, who crossed the finishing line in 49th
place in his age group, had only 24 hours earlier faced the real possibility of being unable to take part in the competition when the frame of his ultra lightweight racing bike literally fell apart.
“After a pre-race check-up my engineer from Rivington Cycles of Chorley informed me that the carbon fibre frame of my bike was so seriously cracked that it was disintegrating before his very eyes,” explained Mark, MD of Warrington-based document management experts the Sharples Group.
“He had no option but to write-off the vehicle leaving me wondering whether I would ever live my dream of competing in the event. When he told me that he had closed his shop and was about to drive down to the cycle factory in Derby to collect a replacement bike, I couldn’t believe my ears.
“It meant I could fulfil my promise to enter the race to raise badly needed funds for the Bolton Lads and Girls Club. When the bike arrived in Bolton I literally had half an hour to try out my new bicycle before the event started.”
Contestants faced a challenging 112 mile cycle ride, a 2.4 mile swim and ended the event with a potentially exhausting 26.2 mile marathon.
“This was my first IronMan triathlon and I have to admit that it was one of the most challenging events I have ever faced,” added Mark “The run was very difficult and very hot and we experienced some windy conditions during the bike ride.
“Thankfully, I quickly got used to my new bike and so was able to achieve my aim of crossing the finishing line in under 15 hours. I was shattered and ready for a good sleep but absolutely delighted to have completed the course.”
When Mark arrived home to his wife Tracy and eight year old son Tom, the family celebrated two achievements – Mark’s IronMan Triathlon success and Tom’s successful completion of the IronKids race.