One of the country’s very best triathletes is heading to Hawaii after an epic performance in the recent Ironman UK race.
Tom Rigby has qualified for the Vega Ironman World Championship on October 12, held annually at Kailua-Kona on the Pacific islands since 1978, after coming fifth in last month’s Ironman UK race.
It will see him race against two-time Olympic gold medallist Alistair Brownlee.
Tom, from Eccleston in rural Chorley, said: “It was a really good race. I did a lot of training in the build up, but it’s still a really hard and very tough course to overcome.
“I had a really good swim but then the bike was just relentless. But I got it together on the run and finished well.”
Tom’s fifth place finish in the triathlon, in a time of 10 hours and 38 seconds also saw him become the second place Brit after friend and overall winner, Brian Fogarty, who finished with a time of nine hours, 27 minutes.
“I’m going to give the world champs my best shot,” added Leyland Trucks employee Tom.
“I’ve used a lot of my holiday days already for training but I will try my best to squeeze it in!
“I always try and stay up every year to watch the race so it’s going to be amazing to actually be involved and be competing with the world’s best.”
Tom, 30, was also full of praise for wife Kerry for all her support during his gruelling training routine.
He said: “I cycle to work and back and once the children are in bed I’ll do what I can.
“I rely on my wife and family so much they’re so supportive; It’s a real team effort.”
Kerry said: “He’s only been doing the races for around five years now.
“He’s won local events in the Half Lakesman Triathlon and Epic Man at Windermere.
"We’re so proud of him as a family.”
Tom added: “It’s really good that she will get to go with me on a holiday now because of this!”
Tom’s triathlon club, Tri Preston, is hosting a Hawaii fund-raiser for him and fellow club member Dan McParland who has also qualified for the world championships.
The fund-raiser is being held at Beer Brothers in Bamber Bridge on September 7 from 6pm.
For information about the fund-raiser and tickets visit www.tripreston.co.uk