A Preston businessman has conquered one of the most challenging and physically demanding single-day sporting events in the world.
Mark Cowin, director of Sign Build, based on the Red Scar Industrial Estate, completed the IRONMAN® triathlon held in Taupo, New Zealand.
The 48-year-old swam 2.4 miles, completed a 112-mile bike ride before running 26.2 mile marathon in an excellent time of 12 hours 37 minutes.
Mark, who completed the race to raise funds for local charity Cash for Kids, finished 389th out of more than 1,500 entrants.
He said: “Training for an IRONMAN® at 48 was really tough.
“But it was extremely satisfying to see all the hard work make such a difference to my general health, wellbeing and general attitude.
“Before the race I had nervous optimism but I knew I’d trained hard.”
Already a difficult challenge, Mark was faced with a change in the weather which made the race even harder.
Starting warm and calm, the weather changed to cool and very windy which impacted both the swim and cycle. The conditions, however, did calm towards the end of the race which was a welcomed bonus.
He added: “The swim saw 20 plus competitors dragged out of the water for safety reasons, as conditions were choppy to say the least.
“The wind had a huge impact on the bike course, favourable in one direction, but a real tester going back into the wind.
“The run course is not the flattest, but conditions had started to calm down by this stage. The sun was out and the wind had dropped a little, so it was all about completing the job and getting back in one piece.”
Admitting the agony upon completion of the race, Mark admits he is still tempted to tackle the challenge once more.
He said; “After I crossed the line I didn’t feel emotional or elated to be honest. I just wanted to get away from all the noise and paraphernalia that goes with this event.
“The following day, I could hardly walk, I’d booked a sports massage, thinking it would sort me out - it made me feel worse, I was walking like the Tinman from the Wizard of Oz.
“I may look at doing another similar challenge in the not to distance future.”
To support Mark, visit his Just Giving page, www.justgiving.com/fundraising/Mark-Cowin.
For a previous story on Sign Build's fund-raising work click here http://www.lep.co.uk/news/mum-makes-gift-to-life-saving-unit-1-8313616