At the age of 58, Ryan Beardsworth thinks doing an Ironman challenge is ‘normal.’
He says: “Other people think it is a bit mad, but it is like playing football very Sunday.”
The grandfather-of-five from Lostock Hall completed his first Ironman challenge in Bolton last year and is ready to take on his second, which takes place on Sunday.
The challenge involves doing a 2.4-mile swim, 112-mile bike and 26.2-mile run.
His competitive streak has steadily developed as he enjoyed being active and says it helps him in his job working at a children’s home in Lancashire.
He says: “It has been a progression over 10 years.
“I have to be fit for the activities we do at the children’s home and so I started getting back into running and I progressed with fell running, distance, sprint and triathlons.
“I am not a good swimmer but I had the mindset that I would get through it. I did a few triathlons across Lancashire and I went on to do Olympic distance in Southport.
“I then did half Ironman and it went further and further.
“You can’t just go out and do it. It takes a lot of serious training and commitment. My body is trained to take that sort of punishment.
“It is tough. Last year I was swimming 100m at Pennington Flash in Leigh and I had to grab hold of a canoe straight away. My heart rate was through the roof. I had swallowed a lot of water and had been knocked in the back by another swimmer.
“I had a little panic attack and though ‘I can’t do this,’ but I knew I was going to do it. I got hold of the canoe and I started breathing out and I began to swim.”
Ryan believes his age should not stop him and is ready to take on other extreme physical events.
He says: “I like pushing my body and seeing what it can do at 58. People say they can’t run because their knees hurt but your body adapts. It is a brilliant thing.
“I have done more in my 50s than in my 20s.
“It is all about the right approach and seeing what your body can do. I am slightly deaf; my eyes are not brilliant and I am a terrible swimmer but my body can still get through it.
“I will carry on doing it for the next couple of years. I will do a Lakesman Half Ironman race again, but my family have told me I can’t do a full Ironman because it does affect them. You need to follow a training plan and it gets harder and harder. You end up training six days a week and doing 15 hours.”