THE head coach of Dunfermline Water Polo Club hasn't let COVID-19 stop him from being an Ironman and raising thousands for charity.

And David Baxter says he's ready to do it all over again in 2021, in sunnier climes, after being determined to complete the colossal challenge, which had been postponed, closer to home.

David, 42, had originally planned to compete in Ironman Barcelona 2020 next month, which comprises a 2.4-mile open water swim, a 112-mile bike ride, and a marathon distance run of 26 miles.

Coronavirus restrictions saw the event delayed for 12 months but, undeterred, David organised his own race across the Kingdom, lasting 13 hours, and was rewarded by raising £4,349 for organisations supporting the mental health of children and young people.

After taking on the swim at Loch Ore, a bike ride around Fife was followed by four loops of a running route around Dunfermline to complete the marathon distance.

"I was supposed to be doing Barcelona this year. I've done one Ironman before, in Zurich, and obviously, with everything that went on, it was cancelled," he explained.

"Because I was going to try and do it for a couple of charities, eventually a couple of friends said, 'Why don't you try and do it yourself'?

"I was planing to do it on the same date as Barcelona, which is October 4, but I figured that the risk of the weather in Scotland in October wasn't worth it, so I jumped it forward to do it at the end of August to try and get a decent day's weather.

"I started at six on the Saturday morning at Loch Ore, and finished just after seven (in the evening). It was a good bit windier than I thought it was going to be on the bike, and you don't get to avoid hills around Scotland!

"It's brutal. At one point I didn't think I was going to make it but you kind of have to. There was points of it that was about as painful as I've experienced but I guess that's the whole point of doing it. Otherwise, it's not really a challenge unless it was a challenge!"

Despite joking that he "could've done with the extra few weeks' training before October", David was able to count on the "amazing support" of friends, including from the water polo club, to ensure he met the Ironman distances in each discipline, and had help if anything went wrong.

All of that effort has been worth it for the cash that will be split between the Young Minds charity and an initiative started by his cousin, Jess, in support of children who have lost a parent.

Having lost her husband, who left two young children behind, at Christmas 18 months ago, she began creating memory boxes for children going through similar circumstances.

David, who now plans to take on the deferred Barcelona event, continued: "I obviously coach a lot with kids, and I have done most of my life, and all my friends have got kids around the ages where there's always going to be things that are hard for them.

"Sometimes it's caused by an event, other times it's issues that are more of a slow-build.

"You look at all the issues that are out there and if people one by one are in a better place themselves, then a lot of the other challenges will start to become a little bit easier. That's why those things are important."

Dunfermline Water Polo Club's Alasdair Campbell added: "The club are obviously delighted at his achievements – both in terms of raising the money for a good cause but for also just completing something like this!

"We are proud that such an inspirational person is leading the coaching of our players, both young and old, and hope his drive and determination will rub off on a few of them."

David's fundraising page remains open and can be accessed by visiting