A RECORD 900 people descended on Nantwich to take part in the Cheshire Triathlon, on Sunday.
The outstanding turnout crushed all previous attendance records for the largest pool-based triathlon in the North West.
Glorious sunshine bathed the competitors as they swam, cycled and ran their way around the course at the 12th annual event, which concluded at Barony Park, Nantwich.
Sprint and fun events for both men and women proved popular among novice and seasoned competitors from around the UK, while seven teams took part in the relay.
Organiser Keith Hancock said: 'It was amazing - by far the biggest and best we have ever had, without a doubt. The weather was fantastic and having more than 900 people take part means it is the second biggest pool-based triathlon in the UK, which is great news for South Cheshire.'
As the only triathlon to feature an open-air heated brine swimming pool, at Nantwich Baths, it is unique to this country.
The fun event comprised a 200m swim, a 20k bike ride, and a 2.5k run around the Barony Park. The sprint event featured a 500m swim, a 20k bike ride and a 5k run.
A relay event for teams of three saw one member complete a 500m swim, another do the 20k bike ride, and the third tackle the 5k run.
In the main sprint event for men, 26-year-old Andy Brooks, from Chorley, powered to victory in 58 minutes 18 seconds. Liam O'Neill, part of Team Tri UK, was second in 59:13, while Rob Harvey, of Manchester, was third in 59:41.
First South Cheshire participant home was Christian Dawes, of Willaston, who clocked 1:06:54 to earn 31st place.
In the female sprint 28-year-old Rachel Shepherd, of Manchester, sealed first place with a time of 1:08:16. Bonnie Hopkins, of Manchester, was second in 1:09:50, while Michelle Mottershead, of Pulborough, came third in 1:10:19.
First South Cheshire competitor to cross the line was Rebecca Brand, from Crewe, who recorded 1:11:56 to seal sixth spot.
Meanwhile, Chronicle Candidates Nick Clough and Sally Keighley did themselves proud. The pair signed up in January to have their progress in the Chronicle charted as they prepared for the event.
Neither had ever taken part in a triathlon before, and both wanted motivation to get fit. And after months of hard training, it paid off as they both beat their personal targets.
Dad-of-one Nick, 34, who owns Cloughs of Nantwich Wallpaper, crossed the line 10 seconds inside his private deadline, in 297th place.
He said: 'I really enjoyed it and did better than I thought. My time was 1:29:50 so I just made my target, and I feel I achieved something. I feel fit and will be taking part again next year.'
Sally, 42, of Audlem, smashed her aim of two hours by stopping the watch at 1:43:07, in 135th place. She said: 'It is a long time since I took part in competitive sport and it was great. I was struggling by the time the run came, and I lost a contact lens, but the atmosphere was tremendous with everyone encouraging each other. I feel better in myself for being fit and I will do another triathlon this year.'
The North West Triathlon takes place in Nantwich on Sunday September 17. For information visit www.fun2tri.co.uk or call 01270 842800.