More than 4,250 Ironman athletes and Ironkids will converge on Bolton this weekend.
The world’s largest Ironkids race is on Saturday, July 19 followed by the tenth annual Ironman UK triathlon on Sunday, July 20.
Ironkids kicks off the weekend’s racing from 8am to 12.30pm on Saturday, in Bolton’s Victoria Square. A record 2,250 places have sold out and will see kids aged three to 14 taking part in a ‘fun run’ in and around the town centre.
The run only challenge, held in partnership with Bolton Council, has grown in popularity since it started in 2012. The event offers different distances according to the child’s age, ranging from 500 metres to 2,500 metres, ending under the iconic Ironman arch in Victoria Square.
The emphasis on the event is all about encouraging kids to lead an active, healthy lifestyle, whilst experiencing and being part of the action of a world class event.
On Sunday, Ironman UK will get underway at 6am at Pennington Flash, Wigan. As part of the 10 year celebrations, three times Ironman World Champion Craig Alexander will be on hand to start the race, to inspire and cheer on more than 2,000 athletes from around the globe.
Attracting some of the world’s leading Ironman triathletes, the event also attracts a range of athletes of all ages and abilities each with their own story to tell as to why they’ve entered this ultimate race of endurance. All of the athletes will be hoping to cross the finish line within the 17 hour time limit.
Consisting of a 2.4 mile swim in Pennington Flash, a 112 mile new and extended 2 lap cycle course through the spectacular Lancashire countryside, the event finishes with a 26.2 mile looped marathon course where some 30,000 supporters are expected to cheer them all the way to the finish line in Bolton town centre.
Managing Director Ironman Britain and Ireland, Kevin Stewart, said: “It is very exciting to be celebrating 10 years of Ironman UK and we are very much looking forward to welcoming all the Ironman and Ironkids athletes and their supporters to Bolton.
"We are continually working hard with the local authorities to improve the event and hope the newly positioned transition at the Macron Stadium and revised bike course will both add to the success and positive experience for each competitor.”
Bolton Council’s Cabinet Member for Culture, Councillor John Byrne, added: “We’re really looking forward to Ironkids and Ironman returning to town and welcoming the competitors and supporters to Bolton. This is the sixth year we’ve hosted Ironman and the third Ironkids event, which shows just how well Bolton is able to deliver huge sporting events.
"Ironman is a real test of endurance and as someone who recently completed the mini triathlon in Horwich, I really admire these athletes. We hope the people of Bolton will come out once again, and get behind the athletes.”
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 including Pennington Flash where the swim will start at 6am. The Macron Stadium/Middlebrook Retail Park will be live from around 11.30am to 5.30pm and Victoria Square in Bolton town centre, where the first athlete is expected to finish around 2.30pm.
For further information on the event and best viewing spots please see the links on the right hand side.