AS a man who has had five knee operations and made even more sporting comebacks, David Holman doesn’t need to prove that he relishes a challenge.
But the 37-year-old is out to prove he really is an iron man.
The former football and rugby player from Boldon Colliery is preparing for his biggest ever challenge at the Wales Ironman Triathlon.
The gruelling event starts with a 2.4-mile swim in the sea at Carmarthen Bay, before competitors tackle a 112-mile cycle ride.
They will then round the race off by running a marathon – 26 miles.
Mr Holman, a PE teacher in County Durham, is taking part in the event in September to raise money for Feet First, a charity which supports people with cerebral palsy and other conditions which affect the feet.
He said: “It’s not going to be easy.
“I’ve been doing a lot of early morning and weekend training, and I cycle to work and back every day.”
The father-of-four last took part in triathlon eight years ago and has also played Sunday league football in Sunderland and local league rugby for the Jarrovians in South Tyneside.
But serious knee injuries have severely restricted his involvement with sport in recent years.
He said: “I snapped my cruciate ligament playing football, and I’ve also had cartilage operations.
“In all, I’ve had five knee operations.
“I think when you have problems with one knee, it puts extra pressure on the other.
“I’ve tried to make comebacks, but I kept getting injured again, so I just about had to pack in playing sport.”
In November last year, a chance meeting with swimmer Chris Cook, the former Commonwealth Games champion and Olympic representative, inspired Mr Holman to make an unlikely comeback.
He added: “I was at a PE conference where Chris was giving a presentation.
“He showed a video of a 65-year-old man who did the Wales Ironman Triathlon alongside his disabled son.
“It made me realise that despite everything that has happened, I could still do this if I push myself.
“I am confident that I can do it. My training is building up gradually, and I feel that I will be 100 per cent ready come September.”
Mr Holman is married to Stephanie, and the couple have two sets of twins – Jonny and George, six, and Hannah and Jessica, who are nine.
Feet First was set up by Mr Holman’s friend, consultant orthopaedic surgeon Steve Mannion.
It provides treatment for cerebral palsy, club foot and other congenital abnormalities.
To support Mr Holman, log on to http://www.justgiving.com/David-Holman1