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Steely effort ahead for these IronMen

Wednesday, 12 July 2017

Steely effort ahead for these IronMen thumbnail Rathfriland men, Eddie Cantley and Aidy Winters head to Bolton in their quest to become Ironmen.

TWO Rathfriland men are set to undertake what is considered to be one of the most difficult one-day sporting events in the world this weekend.

Eddie Cantley and Aidy Winters are participating in the Ironman Triathlon in Bolton this Sunday (16 July) which sees them endure a 2.4mile swim, 112-mile cycle and a marathon - all without a break! The two men have 17 hours to complete the race yet are determined to complete it a few hours less than that.

For Eddie it is his second time partaking in an Ironman Challenge, having completed one in Zurich in Switzerland last year.

However he is hoping that the UK weather will help him to beat his time this year.

Both men told The Outlook that a triathlon is always something they have wanted to do.

"I always wanted to do a triathlon but I could not swim," said Eddie.

"Three years ago I could only swim 25m but then I fell in with a couple of guys down at Banbridge pool.

"They took me to Camlough Lake and I gradually started to increase my distance up to three miles." Eddie (46) said that in addition to swimming in the lake, they would also go to the sea at Rostrevor and Warrenpoint.

"Three years ago I completed a minitriathlon at Camlough Lake which included a 250m swim, a four-mile cycle and a two mile run.

"From there it then increased to a sprint and then Olympic level and then up to the Ironman level".

Eddie, a father-of-two was able to complete the Zurich Ironman in 2016 in a time of 14-and-a-half hours.

"It was an hour slower than I wanted to be but it was very warm. It was 32 degrees when I started the run.

"I would be happy with the same time but given that this year I am taking part in it in the UK, I expect it to be colder so I would like to beat it." With the 112-mile cycle taking in the breathtaking Lancashire countryside, Eddie says he must remember this time he is in a race! "When doing the cycling part in Zurich I had to remind myself that I was in a race as I kept getting distracted by the views of the Valley." "When I was training and during the challenge last year I said I would not be doing this again but when I crossed the finish line, I thought I could have done better.

"So I went round to Dorothy and the kids and said I would like to do another one." And it was when he came back to Rathfriland that he found his partner in crime for the next race.

"I had known Aidy through cycling and running and so when I came back from Zurich he said to call down to see the medal and at that stage I knew he had the notion of doing one so then we decided we would go for it," said Eddie.

Aidy joked it was "peer pressure" that made him sign up for the challenge.

"When I knew Eddie was doing it last year I thought to myself 'that is some achievement' and I said to him then I would like to do it and we decided if one did it, the other would.

"It has been something that I have always wanted to do and when I turned 40 earlier this year, my wife Sarah said to me that now was the time to do it." "We decided on Bolton as having competed in Zurich, I wanted to try somewhere a bit cooler because the heat did not agree with me there," said Eddie.

Aidy, who has four children, added that the training has been tough and taken up a lot of time.

He added he would have been more used to the running, as he has already ran three marathons, but has thoroughly enjoyed the training over the past 30 weeks.

"It was hard getting used to and it meant a lot of sacrifices with family and work time but thankfully everyone was very understanding.

"I am nervous about it as I have picked up a bit of an injury, but that is maybe from doing too much training so we will take a break towards the race," said Aidy.

Eddie said he too has strengths and weaknesses in the race.

"I do enjoy the bike and don't mind the running but the swimming would be my weakness. But at least it is over with first." Eddie said they both actually completed the Ironman Challenge during training.

"I have done two big cycles but have not ran more than 18 miles.

"We started off with each exercise for an hour and then gradually increased until we were doing 18 hours of training a week.

"I would go to Rathfriland Community Centre Fitcamp in the mornings at 6am and then that evening go for a swim, cycle or run.

"I think we know every pothole and hole in the hedge," added Eddie.

The men have to finish each section within a cut off time as if they don't, they will not be allowed to continue.

The 2.4-mile swim will take place in open water at Pennington Flash, the 112-mile cycle will take place around five counties and the 26.2-mile run will finish around Bolton town centre.

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