When Matthew Hawksley made it to the finish line of the triathlon at Mullaghmore, Co Sligo, Ireland, it was the the final victory in a a fight for life that began in that very town three years earlier.
For in the same chilly North Atlantic waters that the 26-year-old raced rival athletes, he had in 2011 broken his neck after diving from a 15ft pier into water just 3 feet deep.
But that was just the start of a journey that saw him cheat death eight times and fight his way back from what doctors told him would be a lifetime of paralysis.
Doctors told him he would never walk again. Then, after being sent home he was struck down by testicular cancer and only got the all clear after his right testicle was removed.
Incredibly, not only did he fight his way back from paralysis, and overcome his cancer, he has regained a level of fitness that most people who have never felt the sharp end of a surgeon’s scalpel would envy.