Meet the Ironmen: Bolton Hospice’s 2021 participants

On Sunday 4th July these incredible Bolton Hospice supporters will be taking on this year’s Ironman UK here in our hometown to help raise vital funds for the hospice, push their limits with the iconic triathlon and aim to cross the finish line to earn the title of Ironman. Meet Michael, Margaret, Darren and Chris who will each be taking on the challenge next week.


Michael Caine

Michael Caine Ironman 2021 participant

“My training is going well with no injuries to date. Sticking to a tried and tested training plan and knowing when to rest is key to reducing the risks. Without the support of my club - Tri Rivington, I would not have managed to get this far. The Club are also contributing £330 to the hospice from feed station funding.

I have been training for Bolton Ironman since 2019 and was disappointed when the event was cancelled last year, however the additional time has improved my strength and fitness and I’m more than ready to take on the event. I will add I am no athlete, and to get to the finish line in good shape is my aim (and to enjoy it). To say I’m excited to take part is an underestimation. At 53 years old, I hope to encourage other people of a similar age and show that age is just a number. The body and mind can achieve much more than people think. My decision to support Bolton Hospice was an easy one. As a Bolton resident, I know the hospice has had a tough time through 2020 and I want to put back something into my hometown.“


Margaret Williams

Margaret Williams Ironman participant

“The reason I decided to support the hospice was that when I came in to the hospice with Chris Brady during the pandemic to share the sponsor money from our Team Deane virtual 10K, I found out that Bolton Hospice was about £600,000 down on sponsorship due to the pandemic which was alarming to me. I have a few close friends whose parents have spent their last days at the hospice and know that it made that time more bearable and that they were supported in their end of life care. I remember fondly my friends mum, and know that without the support of the hospice, that time would have been even more difficult than it was for her. Cancer is a cruel disease which steals precious time away from families. If I can raise just a little bit of money to help in some way, then I feel like I’ve done my part to help other families in these difficult times.

Training has been going’s seemed a long 2 years (after the cancellation last year) but now I feel ready.  I did a half Ironman distance recently in Chester and did well, so fingers crossed the actual day will go as well for me!

I’m sure I’ll be nervous on the day-who wouldn’t?! I’ll just take one discipline at a time and take it steady. The sponsorship will certainly help me dig deep on the run section. I’m not a particularly good runner, but the knowledge that Bolton Hospice is relying on the sponsorship will really help me to dig deep when I’m struggling on the run.”


Darren Eatock

Darren Eatock Ironman participant

“I’m 46 years old and I run a property investment company for sustainable and social housing alongside an Occupational Health And Safety Consultancy.

I’ve been inspired over the years by many people who have completed the event. Some truly amazing stories of people overcoming the challenges they faced in life, keeping that determination going and then onwards to complete the 2.4 mile swim, 112 mile bike ride and 26.2 mile run to earn the accolade of becoming an Ironman. I am just following in their footsteps. Illness and injury was the catalyst for me but my biggest inspiration is my six year old son.

Training has been challenging yet enjoyable. Ups and downs of course but after nearly a year of plugging away and some excellent coaching I feel fitter than I have ever been. Without a doubt it’s taken great amounts of dedication and commitment that I never knew I had in me up until this point. It’s certainly been a journey worth taking but I am a great believer in stepping out into the unknown and see what life brings.

As a Farnworth lad born and bred, I somehow found my way into the Oil and Gas industry at the age of 19 when I took my first trip offshore to the oil rigs west of England. Fast forward 26 years, I’m still in the industry and have been fortunate enough to travel and live in many different countries and locations. It seems now I have lived away longer than I lived here but my heart has always belonged to Bolton (including the mighty BWFC). It makes it extra special for me to return to my home town to participate in the Ironman event and receive the support from the wonderful people of Bolton and be amongst those I know and love.

My family, friends and I have always supported Bolton Hospice in one way or another. I am very fond of the organisation and I’m aware of the difficult circumstances in which they work. The highly skilled and professional team still manage to go above and beyond and provide an exceptional service with care, dignity and compassion. Bolton Hospice has touched the lives of many people I know over the years and more so recently. My friends and I cannot thanks them enough for the work they have done. I just hope that’s the funds we raise help them continue the good work they do and support more families in the area and beyond. My bib number is 1584 so please look out for me!”


Chris Byrne

Chris Byrne Ironman participant

“Ironman UK is not a challenge to be shrugged at, even by some of the world’s best athletes and certainly not by me. Consisting of a 2.4mile swim, 112 hilly bike ride over the Lancashire moors, finishing with a marathon around the streets of my home town Bolton. The challenge needs to be completed within 17 hours, starting at 6am on the 4th of July.

This is a personal challenge I have laid down for myself and will fill me with pride, if I manage to cross the line and receive that medal, but let’s not get ahead of myself! This is no walk in the park (well I will walk in Queens Park, no doubt) and a feat that only a tiny fraction of the world’s population have managed to achieve.

Ten years ago I set up Aspiration Blinds and I couldn’t think of a better way of celebrating a decade in business. I started my triathlon journey two years ago, and always said I don’t have any desire to do the big one. Then I started taking the whole thing a little more serious, joining North Bolton Tri from its inception and are now proud sponsors of the club, with Bolton hosting IronMan UK, it just becomes the next logical step. The people of Bolton have supported me and my business throughout the years, so I think it is time to give a little back, by raising funds for Bolton Hospice.

Bolton Hospice is a charity that have in one way or another touched most people in the local area with the fantastic work and care they provide. Multiple times in my life they have provided the very best end of life care to family members and friends. My mother is currently a volunteer for the hospice, a role she finds very rewarding.”

If Michael, Margaret, Darren and Chris have inspired you to take on a challenge for Bolton Hospice, check out our list of local challenge events here and contact Kathryn for your free Bolton Hospice vest and fundraising pack at or call 01204 663066.