Ironman bosses have confirmed that Ironman UK - one of the world’s toughest endurance races – will stay in Bolton until 2017.
Bolton has successfully staged the triathlon since 2009, and council chiefs have now secured an agreement to continue hosting it and the Ironkids race until 2017.
The 140.6-mile event includes a 2.4-mile swim, a 112-mile bike ride and a marathon finishing in Bolton town centre.
It is one of the largest global sporting events held in the north and the race is filmed and broadcast to an international audience of more than one billion.
Thousands of athletes and supporters are set to descend on the town once again in the coming days for a weekend of sport.
The gruelling triathlon will see 2,650 athletes compete on July 19. The world’s largest Ironkids race takes place the day before and sees 2,250 children running around Bolton town centre.
Bolton Council leader, Cllr Cliff Morris, welcomed the news that the event is staying in the borough.
“This is great for Bolton and for the region. Ironman brings in millions of pounds to the local economy helping our businesses. It showcases Bolton - the countryside, the people, the town – at its best.
“Each year we’ve hosted it, there has been more and more interest in the event from athletes globally. What’s fantastic is we’re also seeing droves of local people signing up. When the event first started we had a handful of Boltonians but this year we’ve got 166 athletes so it’s great we can keep up that momentum.
“Ironkids is also a brilliant event encouraging young people to get involved in sport and together with the Ironman triathlon, the whole weekend always brings a real boost to the town,” he added.
Ironman has grown in size year on year: 1,500 athletes took part in 2009, and this year 2,650 will compete in Ironman.
Ironman regional director for Northern Europe, Kevin Stewart, said: “Having made significant changes to the event in recent years, which has seen it grow both in size and stature, we are delighted that we are continuing our relationship with Bolton until at least 2017.
“Athletes from around the world know that in coming to Ironman UK, they are set for a challenging course, but one that offers huge spectator support to help them achieve their goal of becoming an Ironman.”
For more information about the event, visit www.ironmanuk.com. Spectators’ guide available at www.visitbolton.com.