TWO triathletes have braved temperatures as high as 37C to complete a gruelling Ironman challenge in Hamburg.

York man Stephen Phillips, 55, and John Bevan, 53, from Barlby, Selby, said the challenge was made even harder because the planned 2.4-mile swim in a lake was cancelled.

He said the heatwave had led to the lake developing a poisonous blue green algae, and so the swim was replaced with an extra 3.75 mile run - on top of a marathon.

“This made it harder because we could have done with the swim to cool us down,” he said.

“John finished in 10hrs 48min 23sec after the 112-mile bike ride and finished the marathon in 4hrs 41min 29sec.

“I was 11hrs 07min 28sec and finished my marathon in 4hrs 44min 41sec.”

John said he ‘thoroughly enjoyed’ his first Ironman experience, adding:”In the first 3.7-mile run,Stephen and I decided to run together. Some competitors were wearing swimming hats and goggles, and this was very amusing.”

The Press reported before the event how the pair were determined to press ahead with the challenge despite coming off their bikes in a collision during a training ride in the Yorkshire Wolds.

They said they were lucky to escape with minor injuries after Stephen was caught on the elbow by an overtaking caravan and propelled forward into John.

Stephen suffered bruising to his ribs and bruising and grazes to his right elbow and a badly grazed left elbow, while John had a bad shoulder which made it difficult to swim.

John said after the Ironman that he was ‘really happy’ with his overall time, with the marathon proving ‘extremely hard’ after a break in training due to the caravan incident, adding: "The very warm weather made the run even harder.”

Stephen, from Hungate, who works at City of York Council’s recycling department at Hazel Court, said he raised £420 for Alzheimer’s Society, beating his £300 target.