Bolton is getting ready for the thrill of the IRONMAN UK this weekend (16-17 July) as some of the finest IRONMAN athletes put on a show in the town.
Across the weekend, over 5,000 people aged 3 – 70 will be part of the action as Bolton welcomes IRONMAN UK for the 8th time in its 12 year history.
IRONKIDS will mark the start of the weekend’s racing from 8am on Saturday (16th July). This sell out event, supported by Bolton Council, will see just over 2,500 budding stars of the future aged 3 – 14 take part in this ‘fun run’ in Bolton’s town centre.
The main event day is Sunday (17th July) when IRONMAN UK gets underway at 6am at Pennington Flash, Wigan before taking in some stunning scenery on the Lancashire bike course, running through to the finale in Bolton’s Le Mans Crescent 17 hours later at 11pm. More than 2,500 athletes have registered to take on this ultimate IRONMAN challenge of swimming 2.4 miles, biking 112 miles, culminating with a 26.2 mile marathon run.
Leading the way will be some of the finest IRONMAN pro triathletes, battling it out for the $50,000 prize purse, whilst also looking for qualifying points towards their IRONMAN World Championship Pro rankings.
In the Men’s Pro field, IRONMAN UK welcomes Germany’s Michael Raelert for the first time together with recent IRONMAN 70.3 Staffordshire Champion, Markus Thomschke as favourites against UK’s Fraser Cartmell, Harry Wiltshire and Ritchie Nicholls. However a spread of entries from Europe and further afield, including Romain Guillaume (FRA), Andrej Vistica (HRV) and Krill Kotsegarov (EST) are certain to be putting the German’s under pressure for the title.
In the Women’s Pro race, 2013 and 2015 Champion Lucy Gossage returns to defend her title. Relishing racing on home soil and fresh from also winning IRONMAN 70.3 Staffordshire last month, Gossage is firm favourite amongst a small but strong female field including Tine Deckers (BEL), Alyssa Geodesy (USA) and Germany’s Kristin Moeller and Katja Konschak all hoping for a podium finish in the UK for the first time.
From the 2,500 entries, 38 countries will be represented with athletes from the age of 18 to 70 from all walks of life, each with their own story to tell as to why they’ve entered such a challenge.
Losing weight, battling health problems, marking milestone birthdays and charity fundraising are just some of the inspirational reasons why competitors are taking part, with a remarkable 49% embarking on an IRONMAN for the first time.
Thousands of spectators are expected and welcomed across the route, which starts from Pennington Flash, Wigan. The 2 lap cycle course will take athletes through the rolling Lancashire countryside and hot spot villages including Rivington, Belmont, Adlington, Hillsdale and Standish before heading off on their 26.2 mile run from the Macron Stadium. Music, entertainment and crowds will then be cheering them on all the way to Bolton’s town centre for the finish line.
Bolton Council’s Executive Cabinet Member for Regeneration, Cllr Ebrahim Adia, said: “We’re really looking forward to IRONKIDS and IRONMAN UK triathlon returning to town and welcoming competitors and supporters from all around the world to Bolton.
This is the eighth year we’ve hosted IRONMAN UK and our fifth IRONKIDS event, which goes to show just how well Bolton is able to deliver global sporting events.
The whole weekend brings a real boost to the town and we hope that the people of Bolton will come out once again, and get behind the athletes.
IRONMAN UK is one of the world’s toughest endurance races and we’d like to wish everyone taking part the best of luck.”
Kevin Stewart, Managing Director Ironman Britain and Ireland commented, “We are very much looking forward to welcoming all the IRONKIDS and IRONMAN athletes and their supporters to Bolton.
We could not stage the event without such commitment from the local authorities and we are delighted to be returning to Bolton, which is a firm favourite on the IRONMAN calendar”
In addition to the weekend’s racing, there will be an IRONMAN Expo at The Macron Stadium, home of Bolton Wanderers, on Thursday 14th, Friday 15th, and Saturday 16th, which is free for the public to attend and a great opportunity to view and buy the latest sports equipment.
The weekend’s events are free for spectators to come and watch. With IRONMAN UK action taking place across Lancashire there are a number of opportunities and venues to view the event. The Macron Stadium/ Middlebrook Retail Park will be live from around 11.30am to 5.30pm and Le Mans Crescent in Bolton town centre, where the first athlete is expected to finish around 2:30pm.
Whilst there are road closures in place, the Middlebrook retail park will remain open throughout the duration of the race, so access for shoppers will not be affected.
For further information on the event, including road access and spectator hot spots please visit www.ironman.com/uk.
A Spectators’ guide is also available at: http://www.visitbolton.com/pdf/IronmanSpectatorGuide2016.pdf.