Soldier's bid to win iron man challenge

A SOLDIER at Wattisham Airfield is hoping to become a UK iron man this weekend.

John Howard

A SOLDIER at Wattisham Airfield is hoping to become a UK iron man this weekend.

Staff Sergeant Glyn Painter is taking part in the UK 70 mile Iron Man competition on Sunday at Wimbleball in Somerset, the UK qualifying event for the 2009 world championships in Florida.

SSgt Painter is an aircraft engineer with 7 Air Assault Battalion, Royal Electrical and Mechanical Engineers, and has been training for about 20 hours a week since he returned from a tour of Iraq seven months ago.

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The event will be split into a 1.2 mile swim, a 56 mile cycle ride finishing with a 13.1 mile run and he is hoping to be among the top 50 who will qualify for Florida next year.

SSgt Painter said: “I've got a good chance of qualifying, but what I can do on paper and what I can do on the day may be two different things. I'm confident that I'm going to qualify but you never know.”

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The soldier, who has been based at Wattisham near Needham Market since September 2006, is already his Army Corps sprint triathlon champion and won the Halstead sprint triathlon hosted by Essex Police earlier this year.

Last month he was among a team of seven military personnel, including five members from 7Bn REME at Wattisham, who cycled from Lands End to John O'Groats stopping only to climb the three peaks of Snowdon, Scafell Pike and Ben Nevis on the way.

The epic journey, which took two weeks, covered 1,100 miles by bike, and on foot they climbed to a total height of 2.1 miles up and down again.

The event was to raise money for the charity Help for Heroes which supports wounded soldiers and provides practical direct support to those servicemen and women wounded in the line of duty in the current conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan.

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