BURY Ironman Rowan Ardill paid tribute to the Bolton crowd as he battled searing temperatures and a testing course to finish Ironman UK.

After being struck down by cramp, Rowan, aged 27, who lives in Woolford, was forced to ditch plans to beat his previous best time and instead knuckled down just to finish the 2.4-mile swim, 110-mile bike ride and 26-mile run.

The fitness enthusiast, who works for British Cycling at the Manchester Velodrome and is a director of the Bolton parkrun, eventually came home in 12hrs 47mins 16secs.

“It was certainly hard work, the heat played its part and I struggled with cramp throughout the day,” he said.

“I was glad to finish, but the crowds were unbelievable in terms of helping to keep me going.”

Once Rowan had gathered his senses, he then went back to the finish line to cheer home his older brother, David, who finished in 13:52:04.

David, who lives in Hyde, originally took on the challenge to coincide with his 30th birthday, which is later in the year, but following the death of his good friend David Lawson, in January, also pledged to raise money in his name.

“I was hugely proud of Dave’s great achievement and it was very emotional seeing him cross the line knowing how much he had put into the event,” added Rowan.

So far, Rowan and David have raised more than £1,200 for Macmillan Cancer Support, and another £200 for the Queen Elizabeth Hospital Trust, where their father was treated for a brain haemorrhage.