A MIDDLEWICH man has completed one of the most famous triathlon events in the world.

Mark Ward, 36, took part in the ‘Escape from Alcatraz’ event and finished third in his age group and 50th out of the 2000 involved.

Mark said: “In triathlon the ‘Escape From Alcatraz’ race is one of the most historic and iconic there is and a bucket list race for triathletes all around the world.

“The swim from Alcatraz itself is possibly one of the most famous swims out there with the very cold water, fast current and sharks but add in the tough bike plus a run which has you either going up, down, on trail and sand with the real leg killer being the 400-step sand ladder while passing be-low the Golden Gate Bridge.

“To come 3rd in my age group and pick up a trophy just added the cherry on the top of the trip to San Francisco."

The only way is to either qualify through other Escape series races or to enter the random drawing which has to be supported by other tough events.

Mark has completed Ironman UK three times and is currently preparing for Ironman Frankfurt next month.

Sheri Ward, Mark’s wife said: “He'd mentioned Escape from Alcatraz to me last year and I entered him, not expecting him to get a place at all.

“Out of 8500 entries they could only choose 2000 and Mark was one of the lucky ones. “So I went ahead and secured his place whilst also booking the family onto a San Francisco holiday for it.

“I gave this news to Mark as his surprise Christmas present.”

The event entails jumping off a boat near Alcatraz Island and swimming the very choppy waters to shore.

This started at 7.30 am on Sunday, June 3. This 1.5-mile swim was then followed by a half mile warm up run due to the cold waters, then a 18 mile hilly bike ride, and finally an 8 mile run including the ‘sand ladder’ which is 400 steps up a cliff.

Sheri added: “Needless to say Mark is over the moon with the result and came home not only with his finished medal but also a trophy for being 3rd in his age group.

“All of his family are so proud of him and we hope the local community will be too.”